Skip to main content

Full text of "A memorial of Horatio Greenough, consisting of a memoir, selections from his writings, and tributes to his genius"

See other formats


3  3433  08242020  3 

L&pox  Library 

.Ihuichtm-h  ('uUcrtum, 



Iforatin  #mttnttgfj 




smtw  <$rwrag| 





•  •    > 

• ,  ■  •  •  • . 

NEW     YORK: 

.  •  .    •     . . 

G.    P,    PUTNAM    &    CO.,    10    PARK    PLACE, 



Entered,  according  to  Act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  1853, 

BY  G.  P.  PUTNAM  &  CO., 

In  the  Clerk's  Office  of  the  District  Court  of  the  United  States  for  the  Southern 

District  of  New  York. 

R.  Craighead,  Printer, 
53  Vesey  Str&  t. 



Catalogue  op  "Works, 

pa  ob 



^esthetics  at  "washington, 
Social  Theories, 
American  Art, 
American  Architecture,    , 
Kelatiye  and  Independent  Beauty, 
The  Trumbull  Gallery,   . 
Burke  on  The  Beautiful, 
Criticism  in  Search  of  Beauty, 
Structure  and  Organization,    . 
The  Cooper  Monument,     . 


An  Artist's  Creed,    . 
Fragments,         .... 






vi  Contents. 



Essay  on  the  Statue  of  Washington,  by  A.  H.  Everett,  .  215 
A  Visit  to  Greenough's  Studio,  from  "  Scenes  and  Thoughts 

in  Europe," 226 

Meeting  of  Artists  at  Rome,  .         .         .         .         .        .        .  232 

To   the   Group  of  The  Angel   and   Child,   by  "Washington 

Allston, 238 

To  the  Same, 239 

To  the  Statue  of  Medora,  by  Richard  H.  Dana,  .        .        .  240 

To  the  Statue  of  Washington,  by  H.  T.  Tuckerman,     .         .  241 

To  the  Chanting  Cherubs,  by  Richard  H.  Dana,  .  .  .  243 
Monody   on   the  Death  of  Horatio   Greexough,    by  George 

H.  Calvert,    .                 244 


M  E  M  0  I  R. 

Although  the  creations  of  the  artist  are  his  best  monument, 
when  the  spirit  in  which  he  works  transcends  the  limits  of  a 
special  vocation,  and  associates  him  with  the  progress  of  society, 
and  the  happiness  of  his  friends,  a  catalogue  raisonne  of  what 
he  has  left  in  marble  or  colors,  we  feel  to  be  an  incomplete 
record  of  his  life.  The  recent  death  of  our  earliest  sculptor  has 
caused  so  wide  and  sincere  a  grief  that  it  becomes  not  less  a 
sacred  duty  than  a  melancholy  pleasure  to  trace  his  career, 
gather  up  the  tributes  to  his  genius,  and  endeavor  to  delineate 
the  features  of  his  character ;  and  it  is  at  the  request  of  those 
more  dear  to  him,  as  well  as  from  a  vivid  sentiment  of  affection 
and  regret,  that  I  have  prepared  this  inadequate  memorial  of 

A  life  that  all  the  muses  decked 

"With  gifts  of  grace  that  might  express 
All-comprehensive  tenderness, 

All  subtilizing  intellect: 

10  Memoir. 

Heart-affluence  in  discursive  talk 

From  household  fountains  never  dry ; 
The  critic  clearness  of  an  eye, 

That  saw  throucrh  all  the  Muses'  walk : 

Ko  longer  caring  to  embalm 

In  dying  songs  or  dead  regret, 
But  like  a  statue  solid-set, 
And  moulded  in  colossal  calm.* 

Horatio  Greenough  was  born  in  Boston,  Massachusetts, 
September  6,  1805.  His  father  belonged  to  that  respected 
class  of  merchants  whose  integrity,  enterprise,  and  intelligence, 
half  a  century  ago,  justly  gave  them  a  degree  of  consideration 
which  is  almost  unknown  at  the  present  day.  Comparatively 
few  in  number,  and  active  in  the  political  and  social  life  of  the 
town,  they  almost  created  public  opinion,  and  were  remarkable 
for  individuality  of  character  not  less  than  a  tone  of  mind  above 
and  beyond  the  mere  spirit  of  trade.  This  was  evinced  in  the 
careful  manner  in  which  their  children  were  brought  up,  and  the 
intellectual  privileges  afforded  them,  the  sacred  interest  attached 
to  home,  and  the  superiority  of  the  local  schools.  The  mother 
of  Greenough  is  a  native  of  Massachusetts,  endowed  with  the 
conscientious  affection  and  vigorous  intellect  that  are  so  honor- 
able a  distinction  of  the  genuine  New  England  matron.  He 
was  one  of  several  children,  and  shared  with  them  the  educa- 

*  Tennyson's  In  Memoriam. 

Memoir.  11 

tion  both  of  public  and  private  seminaries,  and  of  the  domestic 

The  instinct  of  genius  discovers  amid  circumstances  appa- 
rently inauspicious,  the  means  and  incentives  for  its  develop- 
ment. In  the  community  where  Greenough  was  born  and 
passed  his  early  years,  there  existed  a  prevalent  taste  and  more 
than  one  noble  example  to  encourage  the  votary  of  letters  ; 
Stuart's  masterpieces,  family  portraits  by  Copley,  a  few  choice 
originals  and  many  fine  copies  from  the  old  masters,  as  well  as 
the  presence  of  native  artists  of  more  or  less  skill  and  fame, 
offered  a  stimulus  to  the  cultivation  of  drawing  and  painting; 
the  system  of  popular  education,  and  the  intellectual  tone  of 
society,  were  also  highly  favorable  to  individual  culture  in  its 
general  relations ;  but  the  art  of  modelling  in  clay  was  rarely  if 
ever  practised,  the  specimens  of  sculpture  were  few,  and  only 
a  strong  natural  bias  could  have  so  early  directed  Greenough's 
aspirations  towards  the  art.  Having  a  decided  sense  of  form, 
a  love  of  imitating  it,  and  a  mechanical  aptitude  which  kept 
his  knife,  pencil,  and  scissors  continually  active,  he  employed 
hours  in  carving,  drawing,  and  moulding  toys,  faces,  and  wea- 
pons, by  way  of  amusing  himself  and  his  comrades.  I  have 
seen  a  head  evidently  taken  from  an  old  Roman  coin,  executed 
upon  a  bit  of  compact  plaster  about  the  size  of  a  penny,  admi- 
rably cut  by  Greenough  with  a  penknife  and  common  nail, 
while  a  schoolboy,  seated  upon  the  door-step  of  one  of  his 
neighbors.  The  lady  who  observed  this  achievement,  pre- 
served the  little  medal  with  religious  care ;  and  was  the  first  to 

12  Memoir. 

give  the  young  sculptor  a  commission.  It  was  for  her  that  he 
executed  the  beautiful  ideal  bust  of  the  Genius  of  Love.  This 
propensity  soon  took  a  higher  range.  It  was  encouraged 
by  the  mechanics  and  professional  men  around  him,  whose 
good-will  his  agreeable  manners  and  obvious  genius  propi- 
tiated. One  kind  artisan  taught  him  the  use  of  fine  tools;  a 
stone-cutter,  of  more  than  ordinary  taste,  instructed  him  to 
wield  a  chisel ;  benevolent  librarians  allowed  him  the  use  of 
plates,  casts,  and  manuals ;  a  physician  gave  him  access  to 
anatomical  designs  and  illustrations ;  and  Binon,  a  French 
artist,  known  by  his  bust  of  John  Adams  in  Faneuil  Hall,  Bos- 
ton, encouraged  him  to  model  at  his  side.  Thus,  as  a  mere 
schoolboy,  did  Greenough  glean  the  rudiments  of  an  artistic 
education  without  formal  initiation.  With  eclectic  wisdom  he 
sought  and  found  the  aid  he  required,  while  exploring  the 
streets  of  his  native  town ;  one  day  he  might  be  seen 
poring  over  a  folio,  or  contemplating  a  plaster  copy  of  a 
famous  statue ;  and,  on  another,  exercising  his  mechanical 
ingenuity  at  the  office  of  Solomon  Willard,  whose  family  name 
yet  stamps,  with  traditional  value,  many  an  old  dial-plate  in 
New  England ;  now  he  eagerly  watches  Alpheus  Cary  as  he 
puts  the  finishing  touch  to  a  cherub's  head  on  a  tombstone ; 
and,  again,  he  stands  a  respectful  devotee  before  Shaw  or 
Coggswell,  waiting  for  some  treasured  volume  on  the  process 
or  the  results  of  his  favorite  art,  from  the  shelves  of  Harvard 
and  the  Athenaeum.  Some  of  his  juvenile  triumphs  are  still 
remembered  by  his  playmates — especially  a  pistol  ornamented 

Memoir.  13 

with  relievo  flowers  in  lead,  a  series  of  carriages  moulded  in 
bee's-wax,  scores  of  wooden  daggers  tastefully  carved,  a  lion 
coucbant,  modelled  with  a  spoon  from  a  pound  of  butter,  to 
astonish  his  mother's  guests  at  tea,  elaborate  card-paper  plans 
for  estates,  and,  as  a  climax  to  these  childish  yet  graceful  expe- 
riments, a  little  figure  of  Penn  cut  in  chalk  from  an  engraving 
of  his  statue  in  the  Port-Folio. 

There  is  no  truth  more  sustained  by  the  facts  of  conscious- 
ness, than  that  the  mind  assimilates  only  its  legitimate  nutriment. 
The  artist,  the  hero,  and  the  lover  seem  hardly  conscious  of 
any  element  of  life,  save  that  which  ministers  to  their  idiosyn- 
crasy ;  and  it  is  in  these  lawrs  of  character,  and  not  in  any  external 
appliances,  that  we  must  seek  a  true  philosophy  of  life.  The 
real-estate  broker,  as  he  passed  the  home  of  the  young  sculptor, 
saw  but  a  certain  number  of  feet  of  ground,  and  perchance 
speculated  on  its  value;  but  the  ardent  gaze  of  the  boy  was 
only  conscious  of  a  statue  of  Phocion  that  stood  in  the  garden. 
The  mystery  of  that  figure,  the  process  of  its  creation,  the 
law  of  its  design,  were  the  great  problems  of  his  dawning  intel- 
ligence; he  was  sensible  of  a  relation  to  the  sphere  of  human 
activity  represented  by  that  image.  It  was  more  to  him  than 
the  animated  forms  in  the  street,  more  than  the  printed  charac- 
ters of  his  hornbook,  more  than  an  academic  degree.  It  was 
a  nucleus  for  his  reveries,  a  hint  to  his  ingenuity,  a  prophecy 
of  his  life.  It  kept  bright  and  palpable  to  his  young  imagina- 
tion the  idea  of  being  a  sculptor,  and  though  the  language  of 
State  St.  Long  Wharf,  and  even  the  old  South  Church  gave  no 

14  Memoir. 

confirmation  to  the  oracle, — to  him  its  silent  eloquence  was 
none  the  less  impressive,  for  his  nature  had  an  element  of  the 
Greek  as  well  as  the  Puritan,  which  asserted  itself  in  spite  of 
time  and  place. 

This  strong  tendency  for  art  did  not,  however,  alone  charac- 
terize his  mind.  The  graces  of  scholarship  were  equally- 
native.  At  school  and  college  he  excelled  in  the  classics,  and 
exhibited  a  command  of  language  and  perception  of  the 
beauties  of  expression,  such  as  usually  indicate  the  future  orator 
and  poet.  It  is  recorded  that  no  classmate  excelled  him  in 
verbal  memory  ;  and  when  quite  a  boy,  be  used  to  recite  a 
thousand  lines  of  English  verse,  at  a  time,  without  error  or 
hesitation.  Fortunately,  too,  his  physical  development  kept 
pace  with  his  mental  activity.  He  was  a  proficient  in  all 
manly  exercises.  Indeed,  that  peculiar  zest  of  action  which 
belongs  to  organizations  at  once  nervous  and  muscular,  never 
ceased  to  inspire  him.  A  good  horseman,  swimmer,  pedestrian 
— he  seemed  to  enjoy  his  sensitive  and  athletic,  not  less  than 
his  mental  being;  and  when,  at  the  age  of  sixteen,  he  entered 
Harvard  University,  in  appearance  and  intellectual  promise,  he 
was  the  ideal  of  a  gifted  youth.  It  is  remarkable  that  while 
his  family  had  given  no  direct  encouragement  to  his  artistic 
plans,  and  made  it  a  condition  of  their  future  realization,  that 
he  should  pass  through  the  usual  academic  training,  he  found 
at  Cambridge,  the  highest  and  most  valuable  inspiration  as  a 
votary  of  art,  yet  experienced.  There,  at  the  house  of  Mr. 
Dana,   he  became  acquainted  with  Washington  Allston,  who 

Memoir.  15 

soon,  and,  as  it  were,  by  the  law  of  nature,  became  his  master ; 
not  that  there  was  any  recognised  connexion  of  the  kind  be- 
tween them,  but  an  affinity  of  genius,  a  mutual  worship  of  the 
beautiful,  and  an  earnest  purpose  quite  apart  from  and  above 
those  around  them, — bound  together  in  the  highest  sympathy, 
the    mature,    religious    artist,    and     the    enthusiastic    youth. 
Lono*  afterwards  when  applied  to  for  some  biographical  data, 
he  answered  ;  "  A  note  to  Allston's  life  might  tell  all  of  me  that 
is  essential."     In  one  of  his  letters  from  Italy,  at  a  later  period, 
he  declares — "  Allston  was  to  me  a  father  in  what  concerned  my 
progress  of  every  kind.     He  taught  me  first  how  to  discrimi- 
nate, how  to  think,  how  to  feel.     Before  I  knew  him  I  felt 
strongly  but  blindly,  and  if  I  should  never  pass  mediocrity,  I 
should  attribute  it  to  my  absence  from  him,  so  adapted  did  he 
seem  to  kindle  and  enlighten  me,  making  me  no  longer  myself, 
but,  as  it  were,  an  emanation  from  his  own  soul ;"  and  on  his  last 
return  to  America,  he  said  with  great  emotion  to  a  friend,  that 
the  only  thought  which  cast  a  shadow  over  his  heart,  was  that 
Allston  was  no  more. 

A  classmate,  with  whom  he  was  intimate,  intended  to  become 
a  physician,  and,  while  an  undergraduate,  began  his  medical 
inquiries.  The  two  young  men,  one  for  a  professional,  and  the 
other  for  an  artistic  object,  engaged  with  zeal  in  anatomical 
investigations.  The  sister  of  this  college  friend  of  Greenough, 
remembers  the  ardor  and  mutual  interest  with  which  they 
carried  on  this  pursuit, — often  bringing  anatomical  preparations 
to  the  house,  and  always  impatient  to  return  to  Cambridge 

1G  Memoir. 

before  the  evening  of  their  weekly  holiday,  in  order  to  hear 
Allston's  conversation.  It  was  a  habit  with  him  to  visit  his 
friend  Edmund  Dana  on  Saturdays ;  the  two  students  occupied 
rooms  in  the  house  of  the  latter  gentleman,  whom  they  always 
called  "  the  master,"  on  account  of  his  serene  wisdom  and  fine 
perception  in  art  and  letters;  and  to  hear  the  two  men,  whom 
they  most  deeply  reverenced,  talk,  was  to  them  at  once  inspira- 
tion and  knowledge  beyond  the  teachings  of  the  University — 
the  invaluable  episode  of  their  academic  life. 

It  was  rare  in  those  early  days  and  in  that  latitude  to  find  a 
genuine  lover  of  art;  as  a  career  the  practical  and  commercial 
spirit  of  the  people  repudiated  it ;  and  among  the  educated,  pro- 
fessional life  combined  with  the  honors  of  literature  and  states- 
manship, yielded  almost  the  only  prizes  of  ambition.  Artists  were 
therefore  comparatively  isolated  ;  and  we  can  readily  imagine  the 
pleasure  with  which  a  painter  at  once  so  benign  and  highly  en- 
dowed as  Allston  would  welcome  to  his  own  sphere  another  with 
a  mind  so  finely  tempered  and  prophetic  of  excellence  as  Green- 
ough.  Accordingly  the  best  hours  of  the  latter's  college-life 
were  those  passed  with  Allston  ;  from  him  he  caught  the  most 
elevated  ideal  of  art,  a  sense  of  its  dignity,  a  courage  to  face 
its  inevitable  discipline,  and  a  faith  in  its  great  rewards.  This 
intercourse  gave  consistency  to  Greenough's  aims  and  new 
vigor  to  his  resolution  ;  it  was  also  a  source  of  the  highest  im- 
mediate enjoyment.  A  few  perhaps  of  the  friends  of  either 
yet  recall  the  scene  presented,  on  a  moonlight  evening  of  sum- 
mer, when  they  were  the  central  figures  of  a  charmed  gro  up 

Memoir.  1*7 

on  the  piazza, — around  them  the  glimmering  foliage,  dark  sward, 
and  bright  firmament ; — the  spiritual  countenance  and  long  sil- 
very hair  of  Allston,  wearing  the  semblance  of  a  bard  or  prophet, 
and  the  tall  agile  figure  and  radiant  face  of  his  young  disciple, 
both  intent  upon  a  genial  theme.  Those  hours  were  memora- 
ble to  the  casual  auditors ;  and  to  Greenough  they  were 
fraught  with  destiny.  His  nature  was  essentially  sympathetic ; 
example  and  personal  communion  taught  him  infinitely  more 
than  books.  He  required  heat  as  well  as  light  to  inform  and 
mould  his  mind,  and  the  friendship  and  conversation  of  such 
an  artist  as  our  great  painter,  at  this  most  susceptible  epoch 
of  his  life,  could  not  but  give  a  new  impetus  and  a  sanction  to 
his  genius. 

There  was  an  exuberance  and  variety  in  his  youthful  mind 
that  charmed  elder  companions,  and  awoke  in  them  a  pro- 
phetic interest.  The  routine  of  college  life  was,  indeed,  subor- 
dinate, in  his  estimation,  to  the  practice  of  art  and  the  enjoy- 
ment of  gifted  society  ;  and  yet,  by  virtue  of  a  natural  aptitude 
and  an  honorable  spirit,  he  fulfilled  the  allotted  tasks  with 
eminent  fidelity,  and  excelled  in  all  branches  save  mathema- 
tics, for  which  he  had  an  instinctive  dislike.  In  the  intervals 
of  these  studies  he  cultivated  his  private  tastes  with  an  assi- 
duity that  surprised  his  most  intimate  associates.  One  of 
these,  now  a  venerable  man,  has  told  me,  with  a  glow  of  affec- 
tionate pride,  of  a  landscape  that  Greenough  painted  while 
an  under-graduate,  of  some  beautiful  sonnets  he  then  com- 
posed, and  of  an  excellent  fac-simile  he  wrought  of  a  bust  of 


18  Memoir. 

Napoleon.  While  such  evidences  of  genius  won  for  him  the 
high  regard  of  his  own,  a  handsome  person,  animated  conversa- 
tion, and  graceful  manners,  rendered  him  a  favorite  with  the 
other  sex ;  yet  amid  the  calls  upon  his  time,  and  the  constant 
exercise  of  his  powers,  incident  to  such  a  position,  the  primary 
direction  of  his  mind  never  wavered.  Sculpture  was  the  art  to 
which  he  had  long  since  resolved  to  dedicate  his  life ;  and  to 
this  were  given  the  hours  not  absorbed  by  his  college  duties 
and  his  friends.  He  modelled,  at  this  period,  a  bust  of  Wash- 
ington, from  Stuart's  portrait,  and  others  of  his  own  contempora- 
ries, from  life.  A  proposal  for  designs  for  the  monument  on 
Bunker  Hill  having  been  issued,  Greenough  constructed  a  model 
in  wood  which  was  at  once  selected  by  the  committee,  although 
the  prize  they  offered  the  successful  competitor  was  never 
bestowed  upon  him  who  was  fully  entitled  to  it.  The  interior 
arrangement  of  the  work  was  planned  by  another,  but  the  form, 
proportions,  and  style  of  the  monument  were  adopted  from 
Greenough's  model ;  and  the  simple,  majestic,  and  noble  struc- 
ture that  designates  the  early  battle  field  of  the  American 
Revolution,  is  thus  indissolubly  associated  with  his  name.  His 
preference  for  the  obelisk  seems  to  have  been  confirmed  by 
subsequent  observation ;  and  the  reasons  he  assigns  for  this 
choice,  in  one  of  his  papers  on  art,  are  certainly  not  less  forcible 
than  just.  In  anticipation  of  his  residence  abroad,  he  also 
began,  while  at  college,  the  study  of  the  Italian  language,  and 
could  speak  it  with  considerable  fluency  months  before  he 
embarked  for  Europe.    Another  instance  of  this  facility  in 

Memoir.  19 

acquiring  a  foreign  tongue  occurred  many  years  later,  when,  on 
the  occasion  of  a  visit  to  Graefenburg  for  the  health  of  his 
family,  he  became  an  excellent  German  scholar.  Italian,  how- 
ever, continued  to  be  his  favorite  language,  and  during  the  last 
few  days  of  his  life,  only  its  soft  vowels  escaped  his  fevered  lips. 
From  diffidence  he  wished  to  avoid  the  delivery  of  his  part, 
which  had  not  only  been  awarded  but  written  ;  and  towards 
the  close  of  his  senior  year,  with  the  approbation  of  the  college 
government,  he  availed  himself  of  a  favorable  opportunity  and 
embarked  for  Marseilles.  Thence  he  proceeded  to  Rome.  It 
was  at  that  period  uncommon  for  an  American  student  of  art 
to  take  up  his  residence  there ;  and  Greenough  was  the  pio- 
neer of  his  country's  sculptors.  He  engaged  with  zeal  in  the 
usual  course  of  observation  and  practice,  drawing  and  model- 
ling from  life  at  the  Academy  and  from  the  antique  at  the 
Vatican.  His  habits  of  self-denial  and  simple  tastes  were  con- 
firmed by  this  systematic  discipline.  "  I  began  to  study  art  in 
Rome,"  he  observes ;  "  until  then  I  had  rather  amused  myself 
with  clay  and  marble  than  studied.  When  I  say  that  those 
materials  were  familiar  to  my  touch,  I  say  all  that  I  profited 
by  my  boyish  efforts.  It  was  not  until  I  had  run  through  all 
the  galleries  and  studios  of  Rome,  and  had  under  my  eye  the 
genial  forms  of  Italy,  that  I  began  to  feel  Nature's  value.  I 
had  before  adored  her,  but  as  a  Persian  does  the  sun,  with  my 
face  to  the  ground."  Here  he  enjoyed  the  friendship  of  Thor- 
waldsen,  and  his  companion  at  this  time  was  R.  W.  Weir,  the 
painter ;  they  occupied  rooms  in  the  house  known  as  Claude's, 

20  Memoir. 

on  the  Pincian  Hill.  After  long  and  severe  application, 
a  severe  illness  induced  by  the  malaria,  so  prostrated  Green- 
ough  as  to  induce  his  return  home ;  and  his  faithful  brother 
artist  not  only  watched  over  him  abroad,  but  accompanied  him 
to  the  United  States.  The  voyage  completely  restored  his 
health,  and  a  visit  of  several  months  among  his  friends  was  not 
unprofitably  occupied  in  executing  several  busts  of  his  distin- 
guished countrymen.  At  Paris,  also,  he  remained  awhile  to 
execute  a  bust  of  Lafayette.  "  The  bust  of  David,"  says 
Cooper,  in  allusion  to  this  work,  "  is  like,  it  cannot  be  mis- 
taken, but  it  is  in  his  ordinary  manner — heroic  or  poetical;  on 
the  other  hand,  the  bust  of  Greenough  is  the  very  man,  and 
should  be  dear  to  us  in  rjroportion  as  it  is  faithful.  As  Lafayette 
himself  expressed  it,  '  one  is  a  French  bust,  the  other  an  Ame- 
rican.' "  On  his  return  to  Italy,  Greenough  passed  many 
weeks  at  the  quarries  of  Carrara,  a  fine  school  for  the  practical 
details  of  statuary ;  and  then  proceeded  to  Florence,  where  he 
took  up  his  abode.  It  was  here,  in  the  autumn  of  1833,  that  I 
first  met  him,  and  I  quote  from  impressions  soon  after  recorded  : 
"  On  one  of  the  last  afternoons  preceding  my  embarkation,  I 
had  sat  a  long  hour  opposite  a  striking,  though  by  no  means 
faithful  portrait  of  Greenough,  while  one  of  the  fairest  of  his 
kindred  spoke  fondly  of  him,  and  charged  me  with  many  a 
message  of  love  for  the  gifted  absentee.  On  a  table  beneath 
the  picture  stood  one  of  the  earliest  products  of  his  chisel.  I 
glanced  from  the  countenance  of  the  young  sculptor,  to  the 
evidence  of  his  dawning  genius  ;  I  listened  to  the  story  of  his 

Memoir.  21 

exile ;  and  thenceforth  he  was  enshrined  high  and  brightly 
among  the  ideals  of  my  memory.  With  rapid  steps,  therefore, 
the  morning  after  my  arrival  in  Florence,  I  threaded  the  narrow 
thoroughfare,  passed  the  gigantic  cathedral,  nor  turned  aside 
until,  from  the  end  of  a  long  and  quiet  street,  I  discerned  the 
archway  which  led  to  the  domicile  of  my  countryman.  Asso- 
ciations arose  within  me,  such  as  the  time-hallowed  and  novel 
objects  around  failed  to  inspire.  There  was  a  peculiar  charm  in 
the  idea  of  visiting  the  foreign  studio  of  a  countryman  devoted 
to  the  art  of  sculpture,  to  one  who  was  fresh  from  the  stirring 
atmosphere  of  his  native  metropolis.  Traversing  the  court  and 
stairway,  I  could  but  scan  the  huge  fragments  of  marble  that 
lined  them,  ere  entering  a  side  door,  I  found  myself  in  the  pre- 
sence of  the  artist.  He  was  seated  beside  a  platform,  contem- 
plating an  unfinished  model,  which  bore  the  impress  of  recent 
moulding.  In  an  adjoining  apartment  was  the  group  of  the 
Guardian  Angel  and  Child — the  countenances  already  radiant 
with  distinctive  and  touching  loveliness,  and  the  limbs  exhibit- 
ing  their  perfect  contour,  although  the  more  graceful  and  deli- 
cate lines  were  as  yet  undeveloped.  One  by  one  I  recognised 
the  various  plaster  casts  about  the  room — mementos  of  his 
former  labors.  My  eye  fell  on  a  bust  which  awakened  sea  and 
forest  pictures — the  spars  of  an  elegant  craft,  the  lofty  figure  of 
a  hunter,  the  dignified  bearing  of  a  mysterious  pilot.  It  was 
the  physiognomy  of  Cooper.  And  yon  original,  arch-looking 
gentleman  \  Ah  !  that  can  be  no  other  than  Francis  Alexan- 
der.    Surely  those   Adonis-like   ringlets,    so   daintily   carved, 

22  Memoir. 

belong  to  one  whom  it  is  most  pleasing  to  remember  as  the 
writer  of  some  exqui>ite  verses  under  the  signature  of  Roy. 
No  one  can  mistake  the  benevolent  features  of  Lafavette,  or 
the  expressive  image  of  the  noble  pilgrim-bard  ;  or  fail  to  linger 
in  the  corridor,  over  the  embodiment  of  one  of  his  fairest  crea- 
tions— the  figure  of  the  dead  Medora.  In  other  studios  of  the 
land  I  beheld  a  more  numerous  and  imposing  array  ;  but  in 
none  could  I  discover  more  of  that  individuality  of  design  and 
execution  which  characterizes  native  intellectual  results. 

"  Coleridge's  favorite  prescription  for  youthful  atheism  was 
love ;  on  the  same  principle  would  we  commend  to  the  admi- 
ration of  the  scoffer  at  a  spiritual  philosophy,  the  unwavering 
and  martyr-like  progress  of  genius  towards  its  legitimate  end. 
In  this  characteristic,  the  course  of  all  gifted  beings  agrees. 
They  have  a  mission  to  fulfil ;  and  lured  betimes,  as  they  may 
be,  by  the  flowers  of  the  wayside,  and  baffled  awhile,  as  is  the 
destiny  of  man,  by  vicissitude — from  first  to  last  the  native 
impulse,  the  true  direction,  is  everywhere  discernible.  In  the 
case  of  Greenough,  this  definiteness  of  aim,  this  solemnity  of 
determination,  if  we  may  so  call  it,  is  remarkably  evident. 
Often  did  he  incur  the  penalty  of  tardiness,  by  lingering  to 
gaze  at  a  wooden  eagle  which  surmounted  the  gateway  of  an 
old  edifice  he  daily  passed — thinking,  as  he  told  me,  how  beau- 
tiful it  must  be  to  carve  such  a  one. 

"  "When  he  arrived  in  Genoa  he  was  yet  in  his  minority. 
He  entered  a  church.  A  statue,  more  perfect  than  he  had  ever 
beheld,  met  his  eye.     With  wonder  he  saw  hundreds  pass  it 

Memoir.  23 

by,  without  bestowing  even  a  glance.  He  gazed  in  admiration 
on  the  work  of  art,  and  marked  the  careless  crowd,  till  a  new 
and  painful  train  of  thoughts  was  suggested.  '  What !'  he 
soliloquized,  '  are  the  multitude  so  accustomed  to  beautiful  sta- 
tues that  even  this  fails  to  excite  their  passing  notice  ?  How 
presumptuous,  then,  in  me,  to  hope  to  accomplish  anything 
worthy  of  the  art !'  He  was  deeply  moved,  as  the  distance 
between  himself  and  the  goal  he  had  fondly  hoped  to  reach, 
widened  to  his  view ;  and  concealing  himself  among  the  rub- 
bish of  a  palace-yard,  the  young  and  ardent  exile  sought  relief 
in  tears.  '  O  genius  !'  I  mused,  going  forth  with  this  anecdote 
fresh  from  his  lips,  -  how  mysterious  thou  art !  And  yet  how 
identical  are  the  characteristics  of  thy  children  !  Susceptible 
and  self-distrusting,  and  yet  vividly  conscious  of  high  endow- 
ments— slow  to  execute  and  quick  to  feel — pressing  on  amid 
the  winning  voices  of  human  allurements,  or  the  wailing  cry  of 
human  weakness  and  want — as  pilgrims  bent  on  an  errand  of 
more  than  earthly  import,  through  a  night  of  dimness  and 
trial,  and  yet  ever  beholding  the  star,  hearing  the  angel-choir, 
and  hastening  on  to  worship !' 

"  On  one  of  the  most  beautiful  evenings  of  my  visit,  I  accom- 
panied Greenough  to  the  studio  where  he  proposed  to  erect  his 
statue  of  Washington.  It  was  a  neat  edifice ;  which  had  for- 
merly been  used  as  a  chapel ;  and  from  its  commodious  size 
and  retired  situation,  seemed  admirably  adapted  to  his  purpose. 
The  softened  effulgence  of  an  Italian  twilight  glimmered 
through  the  high  windows,  and  the  quiet  of  the  place  was 

24  Memoir. 

invaded  only  by  distant  rural  sounds  and  the  murmur  of  the 
nearest  foliage  in  the  evening  breeze.  There  was  that  in  the 
scene  and  its  suggestions,  which  gratified  my  imagination.  I 
thought  of  the  long  and  soothing  days  of  approaching  summer, 
which  my  companion  would  devote,  in  this  solitary  and  plea- 
sant retreat,  to  his  noble  enterprise.  I  silently  rejoiced  that  the 
blessed  ministry  of  nature  would  be  around  him,  to  solace, 
cheer,  and  inspire,  when  his  energies  were  bending  to  their 
glorious  task: — that  when  weariness  fell  upon  his  spirit,  he 
could  step  at  once  into  the  luxurious  air,  and  look  up  to  the 
deep  green  cypresses  of  Fiesole,  or  bare  his  brow  to  the  moun- 
tain wind,  and  find  refreshment ; — that  when  doubt  and  per- 
plexity baffled  his  zeal,  he  might  turn  his  gaze  towards  the 
palace  roofs  and  church  domes  of  Florence,  and  recall  the  tro- 
phies of  art  wrought  out  by  travail,  misgivings,  and  care,  that 
are  garnered  beneath  them;  that  when  his  hope  of  success 
should  grow  faint,  he  might  suspend  the  chisel's  movement, 
raise  his  eye  to  the  western  horizon,  and  remember  the  land 
for  which  he  toiled."* 

Greenough  then  occupied  the  wing  of  a  somewhat  dreary 
palazzo  near  the  Porto  Pinti ;  the  window  of  his  studio,  how- 
ever, commanded  views  of  an  extensive  garden  ;  and  one  of  the 
rooms  was  fitted  up  in  the  American  style.  Here,  beside  a 
wood  fire,  on  winter  evenings,  it  was  his  delight  to  greet  two 
or  three  friends  around  the  tea-table,  speculate  on  the  news 

*  Italian  Sketch  Book. 

Memoir.  25 

from  home,  criticise  works  of  art,  and  tell  stories.  I  recall, 
with  melancholy  pleasure,  «m any  of  these  occasions.  He  would 
often  occupy  himself  with  pen  or  crayon  while  thus  enjoying  a 
social  hour  ;  sometimes  covering  a  sheet  of  paper  with  the 
remembered  faces  of  the  absent  and  the  loved ;  and,  at  others, 
making*  elaborate  and  carefully  wrought  designs  for  a  basso- 
relievo  or  statue.  He  had  srffodies  enough  for  twenty  years' 
use,  partially  sketched  at  the  time  of  his  death.  A  fine  speci- 
men of  his  facility  and  precision  as  a  draughtsman  is  before 
me  as  I  write — his  parting  gift  when  I  left  Florence.  It 
represents  Orestes  tormented  by  the  Furies ;  the  clear,  fine  out- 
line and  statuesque  effect,  as  well  as  the  relief  of  the  figures, 
are  given  with  the  finish  of  an  excelleut  engraving.  Not  less 
pleasant  in  the  retrospect,  are  the  walks  we  used  to  take,  some 
years  later,  during  a  remarkably  fine  autumn.  He  beguiled 
the  way  with  humorous  anecdotes,  descriptions  of  men  and 
places,  and  remarks  on  art  and  letters.  There  was  a  vivacious, 
liberal,  and  often  brilliant  tone  in  those  by-way  conversations 
that  indicated  a  mental  affluence  in  the  highest  degree  win- 
some and  satisfactory.  We  were  usually  accompanied  by  a 
remarkably  fine  English  greyhound,  a  great  pet  of  Green- 
ough's,  called  Arno,  whose  intelligent  gambols  always  amused 
him  ;  this  favorite  dog  lived  to  a  green  old  age,  and  his  marble 
effigy,  in  an  attitude  peculiar  to  him,  from  the  chisel  of  his 
master,  now  ornaments  the  librarv  of  the  Hon.  Edward 

Comparatively  isolated  however  in  the  pursuit  of  his  art,  at 

26  Memoir. 

a  distance  from  home,  and  destitute  of  that  encouragement 
which  the  natives  of  Europe  bestow  upon  their  artistic  country- 
men, Greenough's  first  years  in  Florence  were  passed  with 
little  but  dreams  of  hope,  and  the  consciousness  of  improve- 
ment to  sustain  him.  There  were  periods,  at  this  time,  when 
the  young  sculptor  was  depressed  and  nervous ; — as  month 
after  month  flitted  by  and  brought  him  no  commissions.  The 
Americans  who  visited  Italy,  delighted  in  his  society  and 
respected  his  self-devotion ;  but  few  had  the  means,  and  very 
few  the  taste  and  liberality  to  give  him  substantial  aid.  He 
occupied  himself  upon  busts,  designs,  and  studies  ;  and  realized 
that  in  art,  as  in  life,  "  they  also  serve  who  only  stand  in  wait." 
It  was  about  this  period,  however,  that  his  heart  was  cheered 
by  the  reception  of  anonymous  pecuniary  aid.  He  never  dis- 
covered the  source  of  this  kindly  benefaction  ;  but  circum- 
stances justified  him  in  the  conviction,  that  it  was  sent  from 
his  native  city.  To  evidence  his  gratitude  he  had  recourse  to 
an  artistic  device  worthy  of  his  genius.  He  sent  to  a  friend  in 
Boston  a  basso-relievo  in  marble,  representing  a  student  intent 
upon  his  book;  a  lamp  burns  before  him,  and  a  hand  mysteri- 
ously thrust  from  the  cloud  above,  is  feeding  it  with  oil.  The 
design  is  well  executed ;  and  the  unknown  benefactor  must 
have  thrilled  with  pleasure  at  so  graceful  an  acknowledgment. 
He  always  referred  with  grateful  emotion,  also,  to  the  gleam 
of  sunshine  which  encouraged  him,  at  this  crisis,  in  the  friendship 
of  our  late  renowned  novelist — Cooper.  The  American  sym- 
pathies of  this  distinguished  man,  as  well  as  his  personal  affec- 

Memoir.  27 

tion,  were  excited  by  Greenough.  One  day  they  paused  in  one 
of  the  saloons  of  the  Pitti  palace,  before  a  capo  d1  opera  of 
Raphael,  and  the  artist  pointed  out  to  his  companion  the  fine 
drawing  exhibited  in  two  little  angelic  figures  in  the  foreground, 
in  the  act  of  holding  an  open  book,  and  singing.  Cooper  inquir- 
ed if  a  subject  like  this  was  not  well  adapted  to  sculpture  ; 
afterwards  one  of  his  daughters  copied  the  figures ;  and  the 
result  of  their  mutual  interest  in  the  design,  was  an  order  from 
Cooper  for  a  group,  which  in  a  few  months  Greenough  execut- 
ed in  marble.  It  was  afterwards  exhibited  in  America,  under 
the  name  of  the  "  Chanting  Cherubs ;"  and  not  only  proved  a 
most  acceptable  immediate  encouragement,  but  served  to  in- 
troduce the  artist  to  his  countrvmen.  In  allusion  to  this  sub- 
ject,  the  artist  observes  in  a  letter  written  some  years  after ; 
"  Fenimore  Cooper  saved  me  from  despair  after  my  return  to 
Italy.  He  employed  me  as  I  wished  to  be  employed ;  and 
up  to  this  moment  has  been  as  a  father  to  me." 

This  was  the  first  group  in  marble  executed  by  an  American. 
The  scope  of  the  work  is  obviously  limited.  It  consists  merely 
of  two  nude  cherubs.  Yet  a  careful  scrutiny  will  reveal  those 
niceties  of  execution  which  proclaim  the  true  artist.  One  of 
the  figures  is  planted  on  its  little  feet,  and  its  position  is  up- 
right ;  his  bosom  heaves  with  a  gentle  exultation  as  if  inspired 
by  the  song  ;  his  companion,  quite  as  beautiful,  is  slightly  awed  ; 
one  has  ringlets  that  suggest  more  strength  than  the  smooth 
flowing  hair  of  his  brother,  whose  face  is  also  longer  and  more 
spiritual  and  subdued  ;  he  is  more  up-looking,  less  self-sustain- 

28  M  e  M  0  i  a  • 

ed.  A  most  true  and  delicate  principle  of  contrast  is  thus  un- 
folded in  the  two  forms  and  faces.  The  celestial  and  the  child- 
like  are  blended  ;  we  realize,  as  we  gaze,  the  holiness  of  infant 
beauty ;  a  peaceful,  blessed  charm  seems  wafted  from  .the 
infantile  forms,  whose  contour  and  expression  are  alive  with 
innocent,  sacred,  and,  as  it  were,  magnetic  joy.  Here  we 
have  the  poetry  of  childhood,  as  in  the  Medora  the  poetry  of 

The  grace,  truth  to  nature,  and  infantile  beauty  of  the  Che- 
rubs were  at  once  and  warmly  recognised.  It  was  an  inciden- 
tal result  of  this  labor  of  love  that  Greenouo-h  obtained  the 
government  order  to  execute  his  statue  of  Washington.  The 
pledge  he  had  thus  given  of  ability,  and  the  earnest  represen- 
tations of  Allston,  Cooper,  and  Everett,  were  the  means  of  this 
important  enterprise.  To  the  sculptor's  honor  these  timely 
services  were  never  foro-otten.  His  last  work  was  a  bust  of  his 
illustrious  friend,  the  American  novelist,  which  he  proposed  to 
cast  in  bronze,,  at  his  own  expense,  and"  place  in  the  field 
where  stands  the  old  mill  in  Newport — one  of  the  scenes  of 
his  novel  of  tire  "  Red  Rover."  He  also  took  frequent  counsel 
with  the  friends  of  the  departed  author  in  regard  to  erecting  a 
suitable  monument  to  his  name,  and  among  his  papers  is  an 
elaborate  design  for  the  work.  The  example  of  recognition 
thus  commenced  was  soon  followed,  and  numerous  orders 
reached  the  now  prosperous  exile.  Among  the  beautiful  ideal 
works  he  executed  within  the  few  succeeding  years  was 
Medora — illustrative  of  Byron's  memorable  description  of  the 

Memoir.  29 

Corsair's  bride  after  death  ;  of  which  the  greatest  praise  is  to 
say  that  the  marble  embodies  the  verse : 

In  life  itself  she  was  so  still  and  fair, 

That  death  with  gentler  aspect  withered  there ; 

And  the  cold  flowers  her  colder  hand  contained, 

In  that  last  grasp  as  tenderly  were  strained 

As  if  she  scarcely  felt  but  feigned  a  sleep, 

And  made  it  almost  mockery  yet  to  weep ; 

The  long  dark  lashes  fringed  her  lids  of  snow, 

And  veiled — thought  shrinks  from  all  that  lurked  below ; 

Oh !  on  the  eye  death  most  exerts  his  might, 

And  hurls  the  spirit  from  her  throne  of  light ! 

Sinks  those  blue  orbs  in  that  long  lost  eclipse, 

But  spares,  as  yet,  the  charm  around  the  lips — 

Yet,  yet  they  seemed  as  they  forbore  to  smile, 

And  wished  repose — but  only  for  a  while ; 

But  the  white  shroud  and  each  extended  tress, 

Long,  fair — but  spread  in  utter  lifelessness, 

Which,  late  the  sport  of  every  summer  wind, 

Escaped  the  baffled  wreath  that  strove  to  bind : 

These — and  the  pale  pure  cheek,  became  the  bier — 

But  she  is  nothing — wherefore  is  he  here?* 

There  is  a  mingled  pathos  and  delicacy  in  the  shape  and 
attitude  of  this  figure  which  touches  the  heart  and  awes  the 
imagination.  The  lines  of  the  face  have  that  inflexible  repose 
which  indicates  the  sleep  of  death ;  the  neck  and  bosom  are 

*  The  Corsair.     Canto  iii. 

30  Memoir. 

eloquent  of  feminine  grace;  the  peculiar  grasp  of  the  hand 
which  still  retains  the  flowers,  and  the  manner  in  which  the 
drapery  folds  over  the  limbs,  are  in  exquisite  harmon)T  with  the 
subject.  A  chaste  beauty,  entire  proportion,  and  affecting  inte- 
rest characterize  the  Medora.  The  "  Angel  and  Child"  is  another 
favorite  work.  Its  conception  is  singularly  beautiful,  and  it  is 
realized  to  the  life.  The  artist's  idea  was  to  represent  a  child 
received  and  guided  by  its  angel  companion  into  the  mysterious 
glories  of  heaven.  The  difference  between  the  human  and  the 
spiritual  is  exhibited  in  the  baby  outline  of  the  child,  rounded, 
natural,  and  real — and  the  mature  celestial  grace  of  the  angel — 
his  look  of  holy  courage  and  his  attitude  of  cheer,  while  the  reve- 
rence and  timidity  of  his  newly-arrived  brother  are  equally  obvi- 
ous. In  these  subjects  the  high  imagination  and  native  senti- 
ment of  the  sculptor  are  evident.  His  taste  for  English  poetry 
caused  him  to  select  with  discrimination  and  indicate  with  faci- 
lity the  most  apt  illustrations  both  with  pen  and  chisel.  With 
the  latter  he  imaged  the  most  vague  yet  effective  of  Pope's 
female  portraits — Heloise  : 

•'Dear,  fatal  name!  rest  ever  unrevealed, 
Nor  pass  these  lips  in  holy  silence  sealed; 
Hide  it,  my  heart,  within  that  close  disguise 
"Where,  joined  with  God's,  his  loved  idea  lies." 

In  the  portraits  of  children,  whether  from  actual  life  or  his 
own  fancy,  Greenough  excelled.  Two  boys  playing  with  a 
squirrel,  and  two  others  engaged  in  a  game  of  battledore,  we 

Memoir.  31 

recall  as  remarkable  specimens  both  of  spirited  portraiture  and 
felicitous  action.  His  earliest  ideal  work  was  a  statue  of 
Abel,  modelled  during  his  first  visit  to  Rome — and  his  last, 
"  the  Rescue."  It  was  executed  at  Florence  for  the  govern- 
ment, designed  in  1837,  and  completed  in  1851.  It  represents 
the  conflict  between  the  Anglo-Saxon  and  aboriginal  races. 
The  chief  figure  is  an  American  settler,  an  athletic  man,  in  a 
hunting  shirt  and  cap,  rescuing  a  female  and  her  infant  from  a 
savage  who  has  just  raised  his  tomahawk  to  murder  them  ;  the 
effect  is  wonderfully  fine  and  noble.  The  hunter  has  ap- 
proached his  enemy  unexpectedly  from  behind,  and  grasped 
both  his  arms,  holding  them  back,  and  in  such  a  manner  that  he 
has  no  command  of  his  muscles,  even  for  the  purpose  of  freeing 
himself.  It  is  nearly  two  years  since  this  admirable  work  was 
completed.  The  government  ordered  that  one  of  the  vessels  of 
our  squadron  in  the  Mediterranean,  when  on  its  return  to  the 
United  States,  should  take  it  on  board.  Greenough  came  to 
this  country  with  the  view  of  superintending  its  erection. 
After  long  delay,  a  vessel  was  sent  to  Leghorn,  but  on  account 
of  the  hatchway  being  too  small  to  admit  the  group,  it  was  left 
behind  ;  but  is  now  understood  to  be  on  its  way  in  a  merchant 

In  the  meantime  his  statue  of  Washington  had  been 
finished.  Of  the  merits  of  this  work  the  criticisms  of  two  of 
its  most  intelligent  admirers,  reprinted  in  this  volume,  afford 
the  best  evidence.  It  was  undertaken  with  a  painful  sense  of 
responsibility,  designed  with  great  study,  and  after  long  delibe- 

32  Memoir. 

ration  ;  it  occupied  the  best  part  of  eight  years,  and  was  erected 
under  circumstances  unfavorable  to  its  immediate  appreciation. 
The  just  complaints  of  the  artist,  in  one  of  the  selected  papers, 
as  to  its  present  condition,  should  meet  with  respectful  notice 
from  those  in  authority. 

"  Among  the  most  charming  creations  of  Mr.  Greenough's 
chisel,"  says  Edward  Everett,  in  a  letter  from  Italy  in  1841, 
"  is  the  statue  of  a  child  of  three  years  old,  the  daughter  of 
Count  Revicksky,  the  Austrian  Minister  at  Florence.     The  little 
girl  is  represented  as  seated  on  a  bank  of  flowers  contemplating 
a  butterfly,  which  has  just  lighted  on  her  raised  forearm.     The 
intentness  with  which  she  regards  the  symbol  o£  the  immortal 
soul,  happily  indicates  the  awakening  of  an  infant  understand- 
ing.    So  entirely  absorbed  is  she  in  contemplation  of  the  object 
which  has  attracted  her  attention,   and  so   complete  is  her 
repose,  that  a  lizard  creeps  fearlessly  from  his  hole  in  the  bank 
of  flowers.     The  gaze  of  the  child  is  full  of  that  mixture  of 
simplicity  and  thought,  with  which  children  sometimes  give  us 
such  startling  assurance  of  the  unfathomed  mystery  of  our 
being."     In  the  same  letter  he  adds,  "  I  regard  Mr.  Greenough's 
Washington   as   one  of  the  greatest  works   of  sculpture  of 
modern   times.     I   do   not   know  the  work  which  can  justly 
be  preferred  to  it,  whether  we  consider  the  purity  of  the  taste, 
the  loftiness  of  the  conception,  the  truth  of  the  character,  or, 
what  we  must  own  we  feel  less  able  to  judge  of,  accuracy  of 
anatomical  study  and  mechanical  skill."     The  rationale  of  this 
work  is  admirably  set  forth  in  the  artist's  letter  to  the  govern- 

Memoir.  33 

merit  explaining  the  principles  of  the  design.  Another  work 
that  amply  fulfils  all  the  requirements  of  a  severe  taste,  and  is 
yet  crowned  with  an  ideal  beauty,  is  a  head  of  Our  Saviour.  It 
is  just  enough  larger  than  life  to  derive  from  the  contour  and 
features  a  sublimity  of  effect.  The  expression  is  profoundly 
calm,  but  the  serenity  is  that  of  conscious  power  tempered  with 
a  touching  benignity.  Its  characteristic  point  is  an  infinitely 
suggestive  charm,  at  once  holy,  pure,  and  majestic.  The  bust 
is  fixed  upon  a  coiled  serpent  whose  head  is  bowed  in  front ; 
and  the  whole  conception  is  eloquent  with  the  highest  moral 
significance.  It  invites  contemplation,  and  is  instinct  with  de- 
vout sentiment.  The  beautiful  simplicity  of  the  idea  is  only 
equalled  by  the  chaste  and  noble  execution.  Greenough  enter- 
tained, indeed,  the  highest  view  of  the  function  of  religious  art, 
but,  at  the  same  time,  recognised  its  true  use.  Jn  a  letter 
referring  to  this  work  he  says,  "  I  am  not  aware  that  any  Ame- 
rican has,  until  now,  risked  the  placing  before  his  countrymen 
a  representation  of  Our  Saviour.  The  strong  prejudice,  or 
rather  conviction  of  the  Protestant  mind  has,  perhaps,  deterred 
many.  Not  behind  the  most  jealous  in  deprecating  the  abuse 
of  images  in  places  of  public  worship,  I  think,  nevertheless, 
that  the  person  and  face  of  Our  Saviour  is  a  legitimate  subject 
of  art,  because,  although  our  conception  must  fall  short  of 
what  the  heart  of  the  Christian  looks  for,  yet  you  will  allow 
that  we  may  offer  to  many  an  imperfect  instead  of  a  mean  or 
grovelling  idea  which  they  have  drawn  from  other  sources. 
The  prayers  and  hymns  of  the  most  pious  are  as  far  unworthy 


34  Memoir. 

the  perfection  to  which  they  are  addressed,  as  the  lights  and 
shadows  of  the  artist ;  yet  both  may  be  accepted  as  fervent 
asj^irations  after  the  good  and  beautiful.  It  is  a  mistake  to 
suppose  that  the  artist,  because  he  stops  working,  thinks  his 
task  perfect ;  he  says  only — behold  the  subject  proposed  to  me 
as  the  art  which  is  in  me  can  give  it." 

•My  next  meeting  with  Greenough  was  in  the  autumn  of 
1837.  On  a  bright  cool  day  in  October,  the  Cascine  of  Flo- 
rence was  thronged.  Lines  of  open  carriages  extended  along 
the  park ;  under  the  chestnuts  groups  of  pedestrians  sauntered  ; 
the  dead  leaves  flew  along  the  turf;  the  Arno  gleamed  in  the 
sun.  The  scene  was  at  once  rural  and  festive.  In  every 
barouche  were  gaily-dressed  ladies,  and  the  cheerful  hum  of 
conversation  was  suddenly  quieted  as  all  hastened  to  the 
inclosed  o£en  space  between  the  trees,  to  witness  a  race.  This 
was  a  rare  entertainment  originated  by  the  English  residents  of 
Florence.  The  bright  tints  of  the  jockeys'  costumes,  the  sleek, 
elegant,  and  spirited  horses,  and  the  hilarity  of  the  company, 
accorded  with  the  bracing  air  and  cheerful  sunshine.  In  the 
midst  of  the  crowd  I  met  Greenough.  It  was  a  few  days  after 
his  marriage  with  Miss  Louisa  Gore  of  Boston.  In  a  subse- 
quent conversation  we  referred  to  the  prosperous  termination 
of  those  days  of  suspense  and  anxiety  which,  on  my  first  visit, 
had  shadowed  his  career.  In  the  brief  interval  he  had  received 
many  commissions,  achieved  a  reputation,  and  was  now  settled 
happily  in  a  congenial  home.  The  auspicious  change  in  my 
friend's  prospects  identified  itself  with  the  gay  scene  in  which 

Memoir.  35 

our  intercourse  was  resumed ;  and  it  struck  my  fancy  as  sym- 
bolic of  the  happiness  that  crowned  his  life. 

Florence  continued  to  be  his  residence  until  his  final  return 
to  this  country.  In  the  meantime  he  frequently  visited  Ger- 
many, Paris,  and  other  parts  of  Europe,  and  came  home  to 
superintend  the  erection  of  his  statue  of  Washington.  His 
house  at  Florence  soon  became  the  favorite  resort  of  Ameri- 
cans; and  all  who  enjoyed  the  hospitality  of  the  Palazzo 
Baciocchi,  now  recall  the  delightful  hours  spent  there  with  grate- 
ful yet  melancholy  interest.  The  habitues,  indeed,  must  feel 
with  one  of  his  neighbors  who,  in  a  recent  letter,  alluding  to 
Greenough's  death,  says,  "He  was  a  true,  high-spirited,  and 
independent  man,  and  I  feel,  in  losing  him,  that  something  is 
permanently  deducted  from  my  life." 

Here  were  passed  the  happiest  years  of  his  life ;  and  any  one 
who  shared,  even  for  a  time,  his  existence  in  the  Tuscan  capi- 
tal, soon  realized  how  just  was  his  partiality  for  that  adopted 
home.  If  less  rich  in  the  trophies  of  art  than  Rome,  there  is 
more  unity  of  effect  in  the  architecture,  galleries,  and  scenery. 
In  his  daily  walks  for  many  years,  Greenough  here  became 
familiar  with  the  noble  relics  of  the  middle  ages,  sombre  but 
massive ;  the  grand  simplicity  of  the  Strozzi  and  Pitti  palaces, 
the  beautiful  cornice  of  the  Ricardi,  Bruneleschi's  gigantic 
dome  and  airy  tower,  the  graceful  bridges  that  span  the  Arno, 
and  the  lovely  gates  of  San  Lorenzo ;  objects  ever  fresh  and 
charming  to  an  artist's  eye.  The  memorials  of  individual 
genius,  too,  always  suggestive  to  his  cultivated  mind,  of  epochs 

36  Memoir. 

in  the  history  of  art,  of  long  and  patient  study,  and  of  the  lof- 
tiest aspirations,  were  constant  themes  to  him  of  encouraging 
meditation  and  eloquent  discourse.  In  Florence  are  gathered  the 
most  characteristic  legacies  of  Angelo  and  Cellini,  and  the  city 
and  its  environs  are  intimately  associated  with  Dante,  Galileo, 
Boccacio,  Vespucci,  Macchiavelli,  and  Milton.  A  promenade 
along  the  river  in  view  of  the  unrivalled  sunsets  that  bathe  the 
distant  Apennine  range  with  gold  and  purple,  an  hour's  gossip  at 
the  cafe,  visits  to  the  galleries  and  studios,  and  an  occasional 
evening  at  the  opera,  are  constant  and  available  recreations. 
A  few  years  since  a  new  square  was  laid  out  in  Florence,  on 
the  Fiesole  side  of  the  Arno,  between  the  Porta  San  Gallo  and 
the  Porta  al  Prato.  It  is  called  the  Piazza  Maria  Antonia,  in 
honor  of  the  present  Grand  Duchess.  The  corner  lot  was  pur- 
chased by  Greenough,  and  upon  it  he  erected  a  studio  which  is 
a  model  of  its  kind,  and  unsurpassed  in  Europe.  All  the  rooms 
are  on  one  floor,  built  with  great  strength  and  a  fine  ornamental 
stone  work  on  the  exterior,  having  in  the  centre  the  cypher  G. 
Attached  to  the  structure  is  a  beautiful  garden;  within  is  a 
spacious  and  admirably  lighted  exhibition-room — near  by  the 
sculptor's  private  studio,  a  large  apartment  for  the  workmen,  a 
gallery  of  plaster  casts,  a  vestibule  hung  with  pictures,  a  noble 
rotunda,  leading  by  a  short  flight  of  steps  to  the  garden,  and  a 
charming  library.  This  studio  is  a  monument  of  Greenough's 
intelligent  taste  and  aesthetic  culture ;  and  it  is  deeply  to  be 
regretted  that  it  cannot  be  preserved  as  an  artistic  temple  to 
his  memory. 

Memoir.  37 

In  the  Autumn  of  1851  Greenough  returned  to  the  United 
States  with  his  family.     He  came  ostensibly  to  erect  his  group 
of  "  The  Rescue,"  now  completed  and  packed  for  exportation ; 
but  his  departure  from  Florence  was  hastened  by  the  political 
state  of  Europe ;  the  myrmidons  of  Austria  thronged  the  streets 
of  that  beautiful  capital ;  the  press  was  under  strict  censorship, 
and  a  system  of  espionage  interfered  with  all  freedom  of  speech, . 
domestic  privacy,  and  social  activity — a  contrast,  at  once  sad 
and  humiliating  to  the  hopeful  era  which  had  so  recently 
closed.     Upon  returning  to  his  residence  one  day,  Greenough 
found  several  cavalry  soldiers  quartered  on  his  premises.     He 
instantly   wrote   to   the   American   Consul  at  Leghorn,   and 
obtained  a  diplomatic  office  of  sufficient  consideration  to  relieve 
him  of  this  annoyance;    but  so  many  instances  of  despotic 
injustice  daily  came  under  his  notice,  that  they,  in  a  measure, 
destroyed  the  charms  of  a  hitherto  genial  home,  and  he  longed 
once  more  to  breathe  the  free  air,  and  hold  communion  with 
the  free  minds  of  his  native  country.     He  believed  also  that  he 
could  now  be  more  useful  at  home,  and  that  circumstances 
there  were  more  favorable  to  the  artist. 

There  are  certain  peculiarities  noticeable  on  returning  to 
this  country  after  a  long  absence,  by  all  observant  minds,  which 
Greenough  not  only  opposed  in  conversation  but  practically 
repudiated.  He  wondered  at  the  extreme  deference  to  public 
opinion,  at  the  absurd  extravagance  in  living,  and  the  prevalent 
want  of  moral  courage.  The  true  artist's  simplicity  in  the 
externals  of  life  was  visible  in  him  always ;  his  individuality 

38  Memoir. 

was  not  set  aside  in  conformity  to  fashion ;  he  manifested  reve- 
rence for  age ;  he  was  impatient  of  the  substitutes  for  comfort, 
fellowship,  and  truth  invented  by  what  is  called  society ;  he 
contemned  that  habitual  view  of  general  questions  and  human 
welfare  through  the  contracting  lens  of  self-interest  which  per- 
vades a  mercantile  community;  and  it  was  the  essential  in 
character,  experience,  and  social  economy,  and  not  the  tempo- 
rary and  artificial,  which  he  recognised. 

I  was  agreeably  surprised  to  perceive  the  confidence  with 
which  he  unfolded  his  plans,  and  the  generous  zeal  that  led 
him,  at  once  and  earnestly,  to  advocate  so  many  projects  of 
taste  and  utility.  It  was  remarkable  to  what  an  extent  his 
personal  influence  acted  even  upon  our  most  utilitarian  and 
busy  citizens.  He  took  me  aside  one  morning  in  Broadway, 
and  whispered  the  result  of  his  visit  among  the  leading  com- 
mercial men  of  New  York,  in  behalf  of  a  statue  of  Washington 
designed  to  ornament  Union  Square.  The  sum  of  twenty -five 
thousand  dollars  was  subscribed  in  sums  of  five  hundred.  It 
may  be  safely  asserted  that  no  other  man  but  Greenough  could, 
in  so  brief  a  space,  have  won  the  sympathy  and  "  material  aid" 
of  so  many  stern  votaries  of  commerce. 

I  was  interested  also  in  the  change  produced  in  him  by 
domestic  ties.  As  he  had  once  talked  of  art  he  now  talked  of 
life.  His  affections  had  led  him  to  reflect  upon  human  des- 
tiny ;  and  I  found  him  as  eloquent  and  as  ingenious  in  the 
discussion  of  the  religious  sentiment  and  educational  theories 
as  he  was  wont  to  be  when  intent  upon  the  vocation  of  the 

Memoi'k.  39 

artist.  However  imaginative  in  some  of  these  speculations,  lie 
was  remarkably  in  earnest  and  reverent  of  nature  as  the  true 
mother,  whose  laws  were  to  be  devoutly  studied  and  implicitly 
obeyed ;  in  her  statutes  as  well  as  handiwork  he  beheld  the 
finger  of  God ;  and  justly  ascribed  no  small  degree  of  existent 
evil  to  the  system  of  intervention  by  which  this  divine  light 
is  obscured  or  perverted. 

His  intimate  acquaintance  with  the  state  of  parties,  and  the 
course  of  governments  abroad,  as  well  as  his  decided  liberal 
sentiments,  constantly  impelled  him,  at  this  time,  to  political 
discussion  ;  and  whoever  engaged  with  him  in  these  colloquies, 
whether  convinced  by  his  arguments  or  not,  was  informed  by 
the  array  of  facts  he  cited,  and  charmed  by  his  graphic  powers 
of  description  and  brilliant  analysis.  He  was  inspired  also  by 
that  spirit  of  enterprise  which  marks  even  the  speculative 
opinions  and  social  life  of  our  country.  Looking  around  him 
with  the  eye  of  an  artist  and  the  heart  of  a  patriot,  he  was 
conscious  of  a  new  scope  and  motive,  both  for  his  genius  and 
sympathies.  He  had  matured  a  system  of  architecture  founded 
on  the  idea  of  the  appropriate,  and  adapted  to  the  climate  and 
exigencies  of  the  country.  He  was  prepared  to  suggest  and 
illustate  the  adornment  of  our  cities  with  national  statuary.  In 
many  of  the  details  of  social  economy  he  was  the  advocate  of 
wise  and  practical  reforms  ;  and  had  much  to  say  that  was 
fresh  and  noble,  if  not  available,  upon  education,  hygiene, 
society,  art,  literature,  and  manners.  There  was  a  remarkable 
communicative  instinct  in  Greenough  ;   and  the  results  of  his 

40  Memoir. 

studies  and  experience  were  the  property  of  his  friends.  A  dis- 
interested mental  activity  was  the  distinctive  and  invaluable  trait 
of  his  character.  There  is  no  doubt  that  if  his  life  had  been 
preserved,  he  would  have  proved  a  most  attractive  and  useful 
teacher  through  the  rostrum  and  the  press,  in  departments  of 
thought  and  action  comparatively  neglected  among  us.  The 
principles  of  art  he  could  unfold  with  the  highest  intelligence ; 
and,  without  an  harmonious  and  complete  system,  he  had 
attained  to  many  just  conceptions  of  the  philosophy  of  life. 

Greenough's  temperament  was  both  sanguine  and  nervous — 
a  combination  more  favorable  to  a  receptive  and  sympathetic, 
than  a  self-possessed  and  tranquil  character.  Accordingly  he 
was  of  an  excitable  nature,  and  required  for  the  healthful  ex- 
ercise of  his  mind  and  wise  enjoyment  of  life,  at  once  a  genial, 
free,  and  harmonious  sphere.  Artist-life  in  Italy,  so  calm, 
absorbing,  and  undisturbed,  was  fitted  to  his  nature.  The 
amenities  of  a  domestic  circle,  the  pleasant  stimulus  of  in- 
tellectual companionship,  the  wholesome  occupation  of  body 
and  mind,  were  to  him  a  peculiar  necessity.  The  restless, 
bustling,  ever  changeful  existence  that  infects  the  very  atmo- 
sphere of  this  country  were  sometimes  oppressive  and  irritating. 
He  felt  the  absence  of  that  equability  and  routine,  that  keeps 
brain  and  heart  so  well  balanced  in  the  old  cities  of  Europe. 
He  missed  the  gradations  by  which  the  temperature  seems  to 
adapt  itself  to  the  sensitive  frame.  In  the  climate,  the  society, 
the  mode  of  life,  he  found  it  almost  impossible  to  escape  the 
hurried,  alternating,  fitful  spirit  of  the  land.     It  seemed  as  if 

Memoir.  41 

the  genius  of  enterprise  around  had  infected  his  mind  with  a 
tendency  to  action  at  once  impulsive  and  uncertain.  He  con- 
stantly broached  new  plans ;  and  sought  to  attach  others  to 
his  own  aims.  The  transition  from  a  serene  to  an  excitable 
social  atmosphere,  from  a  conservative  to  a  progressive  country, 
was  too  abrupt  for  a  nature  both  sensitive  and  aspiring.  He 
caught  the  spirit  of  the  times,  and  was  eager  to  throw  his 
energies  into  the  stream  of  popular  activity.  There  was  soon 
obvious  not  so  much  an  inconsistency  of  thought  as  a  want  of 
correspondence  between  his  avowed  sentiments  and  pur- 
poses and  his  actions.  It  was  evident  that  his  mind  had  be- 
come undulv  excited,  as  is  so  often  the  case  with  the  novice 
in  American  life.  But  in  this  instance  the  physical  re- 
sult was  unusual  and  inexpressibly  sad.  A  brain  fever  ter- 
minated, after  a  few  days'  illness,  the  life  of  Greenough.  It  may 
be  regarded  as  a  fortunate  circumstance,  that  the  attack  occur- 
red at  his  house  in  Newport,  and  while  he  was  surrounded  by 
those  most  near  and  dear  to  him.  He  was  subsequently  re- 
moved to  the  vicinity  of  Boston  for  the  benefit  of  medical 
treatment.  While  the  life-struggle  was  going  on,  we  can  ima- 
gine the  agony  of  suspense  that  brooded  over  his  household 
at  Newport,  where  severe  illness  kept  his  dearest  companion. 
The  fatal  issue  was  anticipated  by  the  Italian  servants — two 
Tuscan  women  who  had  accompanied  the  family  on  their 
return.  With  that  passionate  grief  characteristic  of  the  race, 
they  burst  forth  one   wintry  afternoon  with  the  declaration, 

that  the  Padrone  would  surely  die,  because  a  large  owl  had 


42  Memoir. 


descended  the  chimney  and  was  found  in  the  parlor;  the 
incident  awakened  their  latent  superstition,  and  the  bird  of 
ill-omen  was  deemed  the  certain  precursor  of  death.  A  few 
hours  afterwards  came  the  sad  tidings,  but  they  were  mitigat- 
ed, as  far  as  such  desolation  can  be,  by  the  fact  that  his  suffer- 
ings were  inconsiderable,  and  the  delusions  incident  to  his 
malady,  of  a  gay  rather  than  a  despairing  nature.  His 
strength  gradually  yielded  to  the  cerebral  excitement,  and  he 
expired  on  Saturday  morning,  the  18th  of  December,  1852. 

He  had  been  naturally  impatient,  on  his  return  to  America,  to 
settle  himself  in  an  agreeable  locality  with  his  studio  arranged 
to  his  taste,  a  fine  subject  in  the  process  of  execution,  and  his 
family  and  household  gods  around  him.  But  owing  to  the 
unjustifiable  delay  of  the  government  in  sending  for  his  group 
at  Leghorn,  to  the  uncertainty  which  obtained  in  regard  to 
the  two  or  three  important  works  he  proposed  to  execute,  and 
his  unavoidable  indecision  as  to  a  permanent  residence, — the 
year  which  intervened  between  his  arrival  in  the  United  States, 
and  his  death,  was  passed  in  various  places  and  occupations, 
and  attended  with  much  care  and  discomfort.  He  enjoyed, 
however,  by  this  very  state  of  things,  many  opportunities  of 
social  intercourse ;  and  the  intervals  spent  with  his  family  at 
Newport,  during  the  last  summer,  were  periods  of  unalloyed 

It  was  at  this  time  and,  as  it  were,  with  a  prophetic  sentiment 
that  he  wrote : — "  I  am  arrived  at  that  '  mezzo  del  camming 
that  half-way  house,  where  a  man  sees,  or  thinks  he  sees,  both 

Memoir.  43 

ways.  If  my  head  is  not  ripe  it  is  whitening — I  begin  to  love 
to  sit  alone — to  look  upon  the  skies,  the  water  and  the  soft 
green — the  face  of  the  mighty  mother !  I  feel  that  she  thus 
sweetly  smiles  on  me,  more  sweetly  than  formerly,  because  she 
means  to  call  me  home  to  her  own  bosom.  I  would  not  pass 
away  and  not  leave  a  sign  that  I,  for  one,  born  by  the  grace 
of  God  in  this  land,  found  life  a  cheerful  thing,  and  not  that 
sad  and  dreadful  task  with  whose  prospect  they  scared  my 

It  was  here,  on  the  beautiful  sea-shore,  that  I  once  more 
renewed  an  association  commenced  so  many  years  ago  in  Italy  ; 
and  never,  since  the  hour  of  our  first  acquaintance,  did  Green- 
ough  appear  more  full   of  noble  aims,  more  kindled  by  the 
inspiration  of  nature  and  society,  and  more  abounding  in  intel- 
lectual sympathy.     It  is  difficult  to  realize  that  the  agile  and 
well-developed  form  that  sported  with  such  grace  amid  the  bil- 
lows, is  now  lifeless ;    that  the  nervous  frame  so  delicately 
strung  no  more  responds  to  vital  influences ;  and  that  the  voice 
attuned  to  a  key  so  sympathetic,   and  freighted   with  such 
wealth  of  mind,  is  hushed  for  ever !     By  a  singular  coincidence 
the  last  time  I  saw  Greenough,  he  took  me  home  to  pass  a 
rainy  evening,  and  as  he  sat  at  work  upon  a  crayon  head,  we 
revived  together  the  memories  of  those  happy  days  in  Italy. 
It  was  early  in  autumn.     The  gay  visitors  at  Newport  had 
nearly  all  returned  to  the  cities,  and  the  ties  of  friendship  were 
drawn  closer  from  the  more  frequent  and  uninterrupted  oppor- 
tunities of  association.     Imperceptibly  the  hours  flitted  away  ; 

44  Memoir. 

and  I  was  surprised  to  find  it  near  midnight  when  I  rose  to 
depart.  I  remember,  during  my  homeward  walk,  to  have 
mused  of  Greenough's  versatility  and  prolific  ideas  during  that 
interview, — which  I  so  little  imagined  would  be  the  last.  He 
had,  in  those  few  hours,  run  through  every  phase  of  conversa- 
tion. With  the  skill  of  a  consummate  improvvisatorc  he  had 
told  a  story  in  the  dramatic  and  artistic  way  peculiar  to  him, 
painting  the  scene  to  the  eye,  giving  the  very  sensation  of  the 
experience ;  he  had  analysed,  with  tact  and  discrimination, 
several  characters  of  our  mutual  acquaintance;  he  had  ably 
discussed  a  question  of  public  concern,  and  he  had  evolved 
several  bon-mots.  In  a  word,  his  talk  was  argumentative,  pic- 
turesque, anecdotical,  earnest,  philosophic,  and  humorous ;  and 
this  without  the  least  effort  or  formality,  but  through  the  natu- 
ral suggestions  of  the  moment.  He  made  me  realize  anew  his 
varied  knowledge  and  his  independent  mind.  I  felt  that  he 
was  capable  of  the  greatest  social  and  artistic  usefulness.  I 
recalled  the  consistency  of  his  friendship,  his  kind  leave-taking, 
and  cheerful  anticipation  of  "  another  such  evening  soon  ;"  and 
these  vivid  recollections  deepened  the  sorrow  with  which,  a  few 
weeks  later  and  in  a  foreign  land,  I  was  startled  with  the  news 
of  his  death. 

The  outline  I  have  given  of  Greenough's  career  as  an  artist, 
affords  but  an  inadequate  idea  of  his  genius  and  character.  It 
is  the  distinction  of  the  latter,  where  they  possess  originality 
and  power,  always  to  suggest  more  than  they  actualize.  As  a 
sculptor  his  executive  ability  fell  short  of  his  conceptions ;  and 

Memoir.  45 

as  a  man  his  influence  was  quite  as  individual  and  extensive  as 
his  artistic  fame.     Indeed  he  was  endeared  to  his  friends  and 
useful  to  the  world  by  virtue  of  larger  gifts  than  belong  exclu- 
sively to  the  practical  artist.     In  respect  to  personal  efficiency 
— that  charm  and  gift  that  diffuses  itself  by  the  magnetism  of 
association  and  the  attrition  of  mind,  Greenough  held  a  memo- 
rable place  in  the  estimation  not  only  of  a  vast  number  but  of 
widely  different  minds.     He  combined  public  spirit  with  the 
qualities  that  insure  good  fellowship,  and  the  facility  of  the 
man  of  the  world  with  the  attainments  of  a  liberal  scholar,  to 
a  degree  and  in  a  manner  altogether  rare  even  in  this  age  of 
generalization.     His  original  endowments  and  his  wide  expe- 
rience equally  contributed  to  this  result.     He  went  forth  in 
early  manhood  from  a  cultivated  but  formal  society,  where  he 
had  received  an  excellent  domestic  and  intellectual  training, 
urged  by  a  natural  love  of  art  in  a  special  form  ;  but,  by  virtue 
of  his  broad  intelligence  and  generous  sympathies,  while  mainly 
devoted  to  his  profession,  he  became  an  intellectual  cosmo- 

The  classical  education  he  had  received,  and  his  early  advan- 
tages, made  him  familiar  with  the  historical  relations  of  his  art. 
He  could  fully  realize  its  indirect  value  and  its  characteristic 
development.  As  a  national  language  he  understood  its  sig- 
nificance— grand  and  inscrutable  in  Egypt,  unrivalled  in  Gre- 
cian beauty,  primitive  in  Central  America.  The  fables  of 
mythology,  the  monumental  glory,  the  poetry  and  the  truth 
which  sculpture  embodied  in  different  eras  and  countries,  he 

46  Memoir. 

knew  as  a  scholar  and  appreciated  as  an  artist.  Contrary  to 
the  usual  effect  of  extensive  knowledge,  this  acquaintance  with 
the  facts  and  meaning  of  sculpture  did  not  make  him  a  devotee 
of  any  school ;  he  thoroughly  enjoyed  the  masterpieces  of  the 
chisel,  and  expatiated,  with  earnest  intelligence,  upon  each  sepa- 
rate trophy  of  the  sculptor,  however  different  in  kind.  I  have 
heard  him  alike  eloquent  over  the  radiant  Apollo  of  the  Vati- 
can and  the  brooding  Lorenzo  of  the  Medici  chapel,  the  Lions 
of  Canova  and  the  Perseus  of  Cellini,  a  Bacchante  by  Barto- 
lini,  a  group  of  Gibson's,  one  of  Flaxman's  linear  wonders,  an 
apostle  of  Thorvvaldsen,  and  a  bust  of  Powers.  It  was  in  the 
variety  of  his  comparisons  and  the  richness  of  his  illustrations 
that  he  evinced  the  extent  of  his  culture.  The  majority  of  our 
artists  have  been  self-taught  men,  chiefly  dependent  upon  a 
special  talent.  Greenough's  general  knowledge  proved  a  valu- 
able and  attractive  facility  in  his  expositions  of  art.  The 
remarkable  absence  of  extravagance  in  all  his  artistic  produc- 
tions was  another  result  of  his  disciplined  taste.  The  simpli- 
city that  belongs  to  true  superiority  had  become  with  him  a 
principle  both  of  judgment  and  action.  During  his  early  stu- 
dies in  Italy,  Homer  was  frequently  in  his  hands.  In  literature, 
art,  and  life,  his  taste  was  singularly  just;  not  a  trace  of  affec- 
tation or  fantasy  is  visible  in  any  of  his  designs  or  statues. 
The  classical  standard  he  thoroughly  appreciated,  while,  at  the 
same  time,  the  details  of  expression  in  nature  were  his  constant 

He  was  also  a  student  of  art  in  general  as  well  as  a  proficient 

Memoir.-  47 

in  sculpture.  He  had  enjoyed  a  very  wide  range  of  observa- 
tion and  a  large  acquaintance  with  artists.  There  was  no  sub- 
ject upon  which  he  had  thought  more  earnestly  or  could  dis- 
course with  more  zest  and  eloquence  than  the  philosophy  of 
art.  The  principles  of  architecture,  modes  of  living,  arrange- 
ments of  society — in  a  word,  the  wise  organization  of  the  means 
provided  by  nature  for  the  ends  desirable  for  man,  was  to  him 
a  theme  of  the  deepest  significance.  With  a  truly  fraternal 
sympathy  for  his  race,  instead  of  regarding  his  pursuit  as  exclu- 
sive and  chiefly  intended  to  gratify  individual  taste,  he  advo- 
cated art  as  an  element  of  humanity,  a  universal  benefit,  and  a 
source  both  of  high  social  utility  and  poetic  faith.  Accord- 
ingly, with  his  pen  and  his  speech,  he  urged  the  claims  of  art 
upon  his  countrymen,  not  as  a  professor  but  as  a  brother, 
striving  always  to  make  apparent  the  essential  interest  and  the 
national  dignity  of  the  subject,  and  this  course  he  pursued  with 
the  intelligent  mechanic  not  less  than  the  fashionable  circle. 

Few  authors  by  profession  are  better  equipped  for  literary 
art  than  was  Greenough ;  had  not  sculpture  been  his  chosen 
pursuit,  he  would  have  doubtless  adventured  in  the  field  of  let- 
ters. By  education,  verbal  memory,  and  remarkable  power  of 
expression,  he  was  admirably  fitted  to  excel  as  a  writer.  In 
Europe,  he  had  acquired  entire  facility  in  the  use  of  the 
modern  languages.  He  had  a  natural  love  and  discriminating 
taste  for  poetry ;  and,  as  has  been  truly  said  by  one  of  his 
friends,  was  an  artist  in  the  telling  of  a  story.  Occasionally  he 
contributed  to  the  journals  of  the  day,  usually  in  order  to  dis- 

48  Memoir. 

sent  from  some  popular  but  unphilosophical  criticism  on  art,  or 
to  invoke  public  attention  in  favor  of  a  neglected  work  of 
genius  ;  it  was  thus  usually  an  impulse  of  generosity  or  a  dic- 
tate of  justice  that  led  him  to  take  up  the  pen.  His  friends, 
however,  were  desirous  to  see  it  wielded  with  a  more  elaborate 
and  definite  purpose  by  a  hand  so  skilful ;  and  during  the  last 
year  of  his  life  he  was  frequently  occupied  in  writing.  His 
thoughts  were  not  cast  in  a  formal  shape,  but  jotted  down  as 
occasion  and  mood  suggested.  Many  of  these  desultory  efforts 
he  submitted  to  his  literary  acquaintances,  and  they  united  in 
admiration  of  their  freshness,  beauty,  and  acumen.  They  were 
subsequently  in  part  arranged  in  a  book  form,  but  in  conse- 
quence of  the  various  suggestions  he  received  and  the  modifica- 
tions he  intended,  the  plan  was  never  wholly  completed.  It  is 
chiefly  from  these  fragments  of  a  work  that  I  have  gleaned  the 
specimens  contained  in  this  volume.  They  are  mainly  essays 
which  indicate  an  unfinished  achievement ;  but  they  are  none 
the  less  precious  and  interesting  as  a  record  of  his  opinions  and 
sentiments,  and  illustrations  of  his  style. 

The  strictures  upon  art  as  it  actually  exists  in,  and  is  essen- 
tially related  to  our  republie,  are  bold,  honest,  and  wise ;  they 
have  a  practical  value,  and  are  often  expressed  with  earnestness 
and  grace.  A  busy  yet  cheerful  spirit  of  utility,  a  genuine 
patriotism  and  love  of  beauty  characterize  them ;  and  the 
lectures  and  correspondence  should  be  now  gathered  up  not 
only  as  appropriate  memorials  but  as  the  endeared  legacy  of 
their  author.     "  His  oonversation,"  observes  an  experienced  and 

Memoir,  49 

gifted  author,  in  a  recent  letter,  "  was  both  brilliant  and  deep ; 
and  his  writing  so  remarkable  for  its  realism  and  its  occasional 
splendor,  that  I  conceived  the  highest  hope  of  what  he  should 
do,  and  cause  others  to  do,  by  his  speech  and  pen  as  well  as  by 
his  chisel." 

Greenough  was  a  consistent  republican.  His  alternate  resi- 
dence in  Europe  and  America,  only  confirmed  his  sympathy 
with  the  people  and  his  faith  in  their  claims.  His  steadfast, 
ardent  loyalty  to  the  principles  of  his  own  country,  is  the 
more  remarkable  in  a  man  whose  tastes  were  refined,  and  whose 
associations  fully  exposed  him  to  the  blandishments  of  rank 
and  fortune.  A  spectator  of,  and  to  some  extent,  a  participa 
tor  in  the  remarkable  events  of  1848,  his  trust  and  hope  were 
never  subdued  by  the  subsequent  re-action.  His  "  faith  was 
large  in  time."  A  witness  of  the  siege  of  Vienna,  and  an 
actor  in  the  popular  demonstration  that  celebrated  the  advent 
of  liberty  in  Florence,  he  was  entirely  cognizant  both  of  the 
condition  of  the  masses,  and  the  power  of  the  conservative 
party ;  but  he  also  had  the  discrimination  and  the  love  of  his 
race  which  induces  a  calm  and  earnest  trust  in  the  ultimate 
triumph  of  freedom.  To  hear  an  American  defend  the  encroach- 
ments of  European  rulers  upon  popular  rights,  or  discredit  the 
national  impulse, — excited  in  Greenough  warm  indignation. 
He  used  to  startle,  and  perhaps  offend  the  complacent  mem- 
bers of  what  he  called  the  "  Tory  party"  in  his  own  country, 
by  the  vigor  of  his  animadversion  or  the  sting  of  his  wit. 
And  yet  no  advocate  of  republican  sentiment  was  ever  more 

50  Memoir. 

free  from  prejudice.  It  was  on  the  wide  ground  of  humanity 
that  he  took  his  position  ;  and  an  aristocratic  table  was  often 
the  scene  of  his  most  eloquent  protest. 

Another  rare  and  precious  trait  was  his  nobility  of  mind. 
The  most  attractive  phase  of  genius  is  its  coincidence  with 
magnanimity.  So  genuine  was  his  love  of  art  that  it  made 
him  self-oblivious.  When  a  brother  artist,  his  superior  in  ex- 
ecutive ability  for  the  most  profitable  department  of  sculpture, 
became  his  neighbor,  he  not  only  gave  him  a  fraternal  wel- 
come, but  cheerfully  yielded  his  best  workmen,  and  choicest 
marble,  as  well  as  his  advice  and  encouragement,  to  facilitate 
and  cheer  the  stranger.  When  he  planned  a  monumental 
trophy,  it  was  almost  invariably  based  on  the  idea  of  a  division 
of  labor  that  included  the  services  of  others.  To  discover  and 
proclaim  merit  was  his  delight ;  the  glowing  terms  in  which 
he  advocated  the  claims  of  unappreciated  or  modest  talent, 
seldom  failed  to  kindle  sympathy ;  from  the  rank  of  our 
native  artists  no  one  could  have  been  less  spared  in  this  re- 
gard. His  recognition  was  not  limited  to  achievement,  but 
extended  to  latent  powers.  He  was  one  of  that  invaluable 
minority  whose  perception  goes  beneath  the  surface  of  charac- 
ter and  the  accidents  of  expression  ;  and  perhaps  of  all  his 
friends  he  valued  chiefly  "  the  poet  who  never  wrote." 

The  partiality  of  artists  and  men  of  letters  for  Greenough's 
society  was  a  natural  result  of  his  fine  social  qualities.  He 
came  at  once  into  relation  with  those  who  aspired  to  high  cul- 
ture or  lived  for  intellectual  ends.     The  frank  hospitality  with 

Memoir.  51 

which  he  received  another's  thought,  and  expressed  his  own, 
rendered  companionship  with  him  easy  and  genial.  It  was  not 
requisite  to  accept  his  theory  or  coincide  in  his  opinions  in 
order  either  to  enjoy  or  profit  by  his  society.  Like  Montaigne 
he  seemed  rather  to  prefer  a  brisk  encounter  to  an  assimilation 
of  minds ;  and  among  those  most  warmly  attached  to  him 
there  was  the  greatest  diversity  of  character  and  sentiment.  It 
was  enough  for  him  that  an  individual  possessed  courteous, 
brave,  intelligent,  or  generous  qualities,  to  awaken  respect  or 
sympathy.  "With  the  independent  thinker,  the  lover  of  beauty, 
the  student  of  art,  he  was  always  at  home,  and  oblivious  of 
those  considerations  of  nationality,  creed,  or  party  that  limit 
and  chill  the  associations  of  less  Catholic  minds.  He  entered 
with  the  same  relish  into  the  by-way  vagaries  of  Cole,  Morse, 
or  any  of  his  brother  artists  as  they  roamed  over  the  Roman 
campagna  or  the  valley  of  the  Arno,  as  he  discussed  a  literary 
question  with  the  classic  Landor  in  his  Villa  garden,  sympa- 
thized with  Nicollini  in  his  deep  patriotic  regrets,  contributed 
to  the  table-talk  of  the  Marquis  Capponi,  listened  to  memorable 
reminiscences  as  he  moulded  the  benign  features  of  Lafayette, 
discussed  American  character  with  Dr.  Francis,  or  social  reform 
with  Emerson. 

Among  his  friends  were  a  Hungarian  nobleman,  a  Francis- 
can friar,  an  American  Presbyterian  divine,  and  an  Italian  poet. 
His  genius  was  eminently  social.  As  we  retrace  the  path  of 
his  life,  it  appears  crowded  with  endeared  and  venerated  forms  ; 
and  we  feel  that  the  highest  privilege  won  by  his  talents  and 

52  Memoir. 

character,  was  that  of  free  intercourse  with  superior  minds. 
These  select  intelligences  quickened  without  interfering  with  his 
nature.  He  was  keenly  appreciative,  and  quick  to  detect  the  pro- 
mise as  well  as  the  fruition  of  excellence.  I  remember  accom- 
panying him  on  a  visit  to  a  sculptor  who  had  just  completed 
an  equestrian  statue,  and  desired  his  frank  opinion.  The  faults 
of  the  work  were  so  apparent  and  predominant  that  as  he  cri- 
tically surveyed  it,  I  began  to  wonder  what  single  encouraging 
trait  he  could,  without  violence  to  truth,  recognise.  His  first 
words  were — " ce  molto  vita"  and  the  vitality  and  spirit  of  the 
conception  alone  redeemed  it.  The  zeal  with  which  he  wel- 
comed and  befriended  Powers  on  his  first  arrival  in  Italy  was 
delightful  to  contemplate;  and  few  of  his  countrymen  who 
have  gone  abroad  to  follow  art  as  a  vocation,  have  failed  to 
experience  his  cheerful  sympathy.  Perhaps  this  readiness  to 
acknowledge  and  foster  talent,  the  spontaneous  interest  which 
a  marked  character  or  a  gift  of  intellect  excited  in  Greenough, 
was  the  secret  of  his  power  to  elicit  and  refresh  the  thought  of 
his  companion. 

By  this  contact  with  leading  minds  in  various  countries,  by 
habitual  observation  of  nature  and  art,  and  especially  through 
the  exercise  of  genuine  mental  independence,  he  disciplined  and 
enriched  his  intellect  in  every  sphere.  True  to  his  American 
principles,  he  recognised  no  aristocracy  but  that  of  nature; 
broad  in  his  views  of  life,  he  rose  superior  to  all  jealousy  or 
narrowness;  bold  and  free  in  opinion,  he  uttered  his  honest 
sentiments  with  candor  and  enthusiasm ;  and  thus,  in  the  cha- 

Memoir.  53 

racter  of  an  artist,  he  brought  an  ever  fresh  accession  of  infor- 
mation, wit,  and  geniality  to  the  social  circle,  and  shed  abroad 
the  light  and  glow  of  a  noble,  kindly,  and  intelligent  man.  It 
is  in  this  view  that  we  feel  the  void  occasioned  by  his  death, 
and  realize  the  loss  his  country  has  sustained  ;  for  art,  though 
a  grand  and  beautiful,  is  not  a  universal  language,  and  when 
her  gifted  votaries  are  also  priests  at  the  altar  of  humanity, 
they  are  doubly  mourned  and  honored. 


1.  A  statue  of  Abel,  modelled  in  Rome,  in  1826,  but  never 
executed  in  marble. 

2.  Statue  of  Byron's  Medora.     For  R.  Gilmore,  of  Balti- 

3.  Group.      The   Chanting   Cherubs.      For    J.    Fenimore 

4.  The  Ascension  of  the  Infant  Spirit.     A  group  of  an  Infant 
and  Cherub. 

5.  Group.     Portraits  of  two  Children  of  David  Sears,  play- 
ing with  a  squirrel. 

6.  Statuette.     The  Genius   of  America.     For  J.  Hoyt,  of 
New  York. 

7.  Portrait  statue  of  Miss  Grinnell. 

8.  Portrait  Statues  of  two  Youths,  sons  of  J.  Thompson,  of 
New  York. 

9.  Monument  to  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Gibbs.     For  Miss  Gibbs  of 

10.  Statue  of  Washington,  by  order  of  Congress,  for  the 

Catalogue    of    Works.  55 

The  sum,  twenty  thousand  dollars,  voted  by  Congress,  was 
intended  to  be  an  honest  compensation  for  this  work.  The 
amount  was  the  same  as  that  paid  by  Massachusetts  to  Chantry 
for  his  statue  of  Washington,  the  size  of  life.  Greenough, 
determined  to  spare  neither  time  nor  expense  to  make  his 
work  worthy  of  the  country  and  himself,  made  it  colossal 
(twice  the  size  of  life),  involving  an  expense  threefold  beyond 
what  it  would  have  cost  of  the  natural  size. 

The  embellishments  of  the  chair  have  a  significance  which 
often  escape  observation.  The  statuettes  of  Columbus,  and  an 
Indian  Chief,  supporting  the  arms  of  the  chair,  and  the  trident, 
have  found  favor  as  being  obviously  illustrative  of  our  country's 
history.  But  the  bas-reliefs  of  the  Rising  Sun  on  Apollo's  cha- 
riot on  the  one  side,  and  the  infant  Hercules  strangling  a  ser- 
pent on  the  other,  are,  by  many,  looked  upon  as  mere  "  clas- 
sical" embellishments,  independent  of  the  subject.  Were  they 
no  more  than  this,  they  would  be  disfigurements  instead  of 
adornments.  The  artist  originally  designed  to  have  inscribed 
two  lines  from  an  ode  of  Virgil ; — under  the  Apollo,  Nunc 
nascitur  lucidus  or  do  ;  and  under  the  Hercules,  Incipe,  parve 
puer,  cui  non  risere  parentes.  These  verses  would  have  inter- 
preted the  bas-reliefs.  Greenough  finally  omitted  them,  be- 
cause sculpture  should  speak  its  own  language  so  distinctly  as  • 
to  need  no  aid  from  letters. 

11.  Child  seated  on  a  bank,  intently  gazing  at  a  butterfly 
that  has  just  lighted  on  the  back  of  its  hand.  For  a  Hunga- 
rian nobleman. 

66  Catalogue    of    Works. 

12.  Statuette  of  Venus  Victrix.  For  John  Lowell,  and  pre- 
sented by  him  to  the  Boston  Athenaeum. 

13.  Colossal  Group,  for  the  Capitol,  by  order  of  Congress. 
This  work,  which  was  finished  in  July,  1851,  occupied  the 

artist  eight  years,  besides  a  delay  of  four  years  occasioned  by 
his  not  being  able  in  all  that  time  to  obtain  a  block  of  Serra- 
vezza  marble  suitable  to  his  purpose.  It  consists  of  four  figures, 
a  mother  and  child,  an  American  Indian  and  the  father.  This 
group  illustrates  a  phasis  in  the  progress  of  American  civiliza- 
tion, viz.,  the  unavoidable  conflict  between  the  Anglo-Saxon 
and  aboriginal  savage  races.  The  figures  of  the  mother  and 
child  were  entirely  remodelled  in  the  years  1846  and  '47. 

14.  Statue  of  the  Angel  Abdiel  retiring  from  the  assemblage 
of  rebellious  Angels ;  from  Milton's  Paradise  Lost. 

15.  Monument  to  his  friend  Giusti,  the  Italian  poet;  erected 
at  Pescia,  Tuscany. 

16.  Bas-relief,  representing  an  artist  whose  labors  are  sus- 
pended by  the  failure  of  the  light  by  which  he  is  working. 
He  is  seated  in  an  attitude  of  pensive  dejection,  while  a  hand 
from  a  cloud  supplies  oil  to  the  lamp. 

17.  Bas-relief  of  Castor  and  Pollux. 

18.  Venus,  contending  for  the  golden  apple.  It  is  of 
heroic  size,  that  of  the  Venus  of  Milo.  This  statue  was 
much  admired  in  Florence,  and  Browning,  the  English 
poet,  urged  Greenough  to  send  it  to  the  World's  Fair, 
in  London. 

It  was  modelled  entirely  in  plaster  of  Paris  (as  was  also  the 

Catalogue    of   Works.  57 

second  group  of  the  mother  and  child)  by  a  new  process. 
"The  merit  of  this  invention  seems  to  be  shared  between 
Greenough  and  Powers.  They  commenced  about  the  same 
time  to  make  trials  in  this  material,  and  by  interchange  of 
experiences  and  views  the  method  was  perfected.  The  gain  to 
artists  by  this  invention  is  two-fold  ;  plaster  of  Paris  does  not 
expand  like  clay,  and  there  is  no  need  of  the  precarious  and 
expensive  process  of  casting." 

19.  Ideal  Bust.     Our  Saviour  crucified. 

20.  Two  Ideal  Busts  of  Heloise. 

21.  Ideal  Bust  of  Lucifer. 

22.  Ideal  Bust  of  the  Graces. 

23.  Ideal  Bust.     The  Genius  of  Love. 

Besides  the  above  enumerated  statues  and  bas-relief,  he  exe- 
cuted a  large  number  of  busts  ;  among  these  were  portraits  of 
John  Adams  and  of  John  Q.  Adams,  Henry  Clay,  Mrs.  R. 
Gilmor,  Josiah  Quincy,  Sen.,  S.  Appleton,  Jonathan  Mason, 
Thos.  Cole,  the  late  celebrated  landscape-painter,  N.  P.  "Willis, 
the  Marquess  Gino  Capponi,  for  many  years  a  personal  friend 
of  Greenough,  and  latterly  Prime  Minister  of  Tuscany,  John 
Jacob  Astor,  Cooper,  and  others. 




[Greenough  commenced  a  series  of  Lectures  on  Art  during  the 
last  months  of  his  life ;  two  of  these  had  been  written  and  delivered, 
and  copious  notes  for  others  were  found  among  his  papers ;  while 
abroad  he  also  wrote  several  essays  on  this  and  kindred  subjects ; 
and  man}1  of  his  letters  are  valuable  and  interesting ;  these  it  is  pro- 
posed to  collect  in  a  subsequent  volume.  The  selections  now 
published  will  indicate  the  scope  of  his  inquiries,  and  the  originality 
of  his  views,  and  serve  as  a  foretaste  of  more  elaborate  specimens.] 


An  American  citizen,  who  has  gone  abroad  to  study  a 
refined  art,  presents  himself  before  his  fellow-countrymen  at 
disadvantage.  To  the  uninitiated,  his  very  departure  from 
these  shores  is  an  accusation  of  the  fatherland.  If  he  sail  away 
to  strike  the  whale  on  the  Pacific,  or  load  his  hold  with  the 
precious  teeth,  and  gums,  and  sands  of  Africa,  it  is  well ;  but 
to  live  for  years  among  Italians,  Frenchmen,  and  Germans,  for 
the  sake  of  breathing  the  air  of  high  art,  ancient  and  modern, 
this  is  shrewdly  thought  by  many  to  show  a  lack  of  genius, 
whose  boast  it  is  to  create,  and  we  are  often  asked  triumphantly 
if  nature  is  not  to  be  found  here  on  this  continent.  They  who 
thus  reason  and  thus  feel,  are  not  aware  of  the  peculiar  position 
of  the  aspirant  to  artistic  activity  in  these  States.  They  see 
that  lawyers  and  statesmen,  divines,  physicians,  mechanics,  all 
are  here  developed,  are  said  to  be  home  grown,  nay,  often  also 
self-made.  They  forget  that  all  the  elements  of  our  civilization 
have  been  imported.  They  forget  that  our  schools  and  col- 
leges, our  libraries  and  churches,  are  filled  with  the  most  mate- 

G2  ./Esthetics   at   Washington. 

rial  proof,  that  Greek  and  Roman  thought  is  even  now  modi- 
fying and  guiding  our  intellectual  development.  A  moment's 
attention  will  enable  them  to  perceive  that  the  American  stu- 
dent of  art  only  seeks  to  effect  for  his  own  department  of 
knowledge  a  like  transfer  of  rudimental  science,  and  at  this  late 
day,  make  the  form  of  our  culture  harmonious  with  its  essential 
and  distinctive  character. 

We  are  still  imbued,  deeply  imbued,  with  the  stern  disregard 
of  everything  not  materially  indispensable,  which  was  gene- 
rated by  ages  of  colonial,  and  border,  and  semi-savage  life. 
We  have  imported  writings  on  art  in  abundance,  and  there  is 
scarcely  a  scholar  in  the  land  who  cannot  wield  the  terms  of 
dilettantism  as  glibly  as  a  European  professor ;  but  unfortu- 
nately for  us,  the  appreciation  of  an  sesthetical  theory  without 
substantial  art,  is  as  difficult  as  to  follow  a  geometric  demon- 
stration without  a  diagram.  It  is  sterile  and  impotent,  as  is  all 
faith  without  works. 

If  the  arts  of  design  could  have  simply  remained  in  a  nega- 
tive state,  like  seeds  buried  in  autumn,  to  await  the  action  of  a 
more  genial  season,  we  should  be  justified  in  postponing,  even 
now,  their  cultivation.  But  like  the  Bourgeois  gentilhomme, 
who  talked  prose  from  his  boyhood  without  being  aware  of  it, 
we  have  been  compelled  both  to  design  and  to  adorn,  and  our 
efforts,  from  their  nature,  must  remain  monuments  of  chaotic 
disorder  in  all  that  relates  to  ./Esthetics.  In  a  word,  we  have 
negative  quantities  to  deal  with,  before  we  can  rise  to  zero.  I 
do  not  mean  to  say  that  the  beautiful  has  not  been  sought  and 

^Esthetics   at   Washington.  63 

found  amongst  us.  I  wish,  and  I  hope  to  show,  that  we  have 
done  more,  in  a  right  direction,  than  has  been  appreciated  ; 
much  in  a  wrong  direction,  that  must  be  examined  and  repu- 

I  am  sensible  of  the  disadvantage  under  which  I  labor,  in 
speaking  of  matters  to  which  I  have  devoted  my  attention  for 
many  years.  I  regret  that  I  have  no  such  right  to  sympathy 
and  to  support  as  that  set  forth  by  the  author  of  a  recent  work 
when  he  says,  "  I  have  no  qualifications  for  a  critic  in  art,  and 
make  no  pretensions  to  the  character.  I  write  only  for  the 
great  multitude,  as  ill  instructed  in  this  sphere  as  I  cheerfully 
admit  myself."  When  the  writer  of  that  profession  shall  have 
learned  what  the  main  qualifications  for  a  critic  on  art  really 
are,  I  cannot  believe  that  he  will  cheerfully  renounce  them ; 
and  far  as  I  am  from  a  personal  acquaintance  with  the  great 
multitude,  I  cannot  believe  that  one  "  as  ill  instructed  as  them- 
selves" is  the  exact  person  whom  they  would  depute  to  deal 
with  matters  which,  to  say  the  least  of  them,  require  some 

It  is  the  great  multitude  that  has  decided  the  rank  of  the 
statesmen,  the  poets,  and  the  artists  of  the  world.  It  is  the 
great  multitude  for  whom  all  really  great  things  are  done,  and 
said,  and  suffered.  The  great  multitude  desires  the  best  of 
everything,  and  in  the  long  run  is  the  best  judge  of  it.  I  have 
said  this  much  in  relation  to  the  sesthetical  observations  of  this 
writer,  because,  though  I  generally  sympathize  with  his  views, 
and  often  admire  the  expression  of  them,  I  look  upon  the 

G4  ^Esthetics    at   Washington. 

ground  lie  here  takes,  as  one  too  often  taken — in  itself  untena- 
ble, and  apt  to  mislead  by  an  exaggerated  expression  of 
modesty.  Substantially,  it  is  analogous  to  the  conduct  of  one 
who  should  commence  by  declaring  that  all  men  are  free  and 
equal,  and  go  on  to  give  orders  to  the  right  and  left  as  to  valets. 
Fain  would  I  also  lay  claim  to  the  title  of  self  made  man ; 
indeed,  I  graduated  at  Harvard,  in  182-,  which  they  who  knew 
the  school  will  allow  was  near  enough  self-making  to  satisfy 
any  reasonable  ambition.  But  since  then  I  have  been  indebted 
to  very  many  for  light  as  for  assistance. 

•  If  there  were  in  our  character  or  in  our  institutions,  aught 
that  is  at  war  with  art  in  the  abstract,  I  for  one  would  be  silent, 
preferring  the  humblest  labor,  if  any  labor  deserve  the  name  of 
humbie,  to  the  development  of  an  influence  adverse  to  Ameri- 
can freedom.  I  speak  of  art  now,  because  I  think  I  see  that  it 
is  a  want — a  want  widely  felt,  deeply  felt — an  intellectual  want, 
a  social  want,  an  economical  want — and  that  to  a  degree  which 
few  seem  to  suspect.  I  believe  that  these  states  need  art  as  a 
visible  exponent  of  their  civilization.*     They  call  for  it  as  a  sal- 

*  In  the  speech  of  Mr.  Smith,  of  Alabama,  in  explanation  of  a  resolu- 
tion offered  by  him  in  relation  to  Kossuth,  I  find  the  following  passage : 
"I  will  make  another  observation,  and  that  is  in  reference  to  the  idea 
of  establishing  republican  governments  in  Europe.  Kew  governments 
there  are  constantly  rising  and  falling,  and  they  have  been  trying  to 
establish  republican  governments  for  the  last  thousand  years;  have 
they  ever  succeeded?  and  why  not?  Because  of  their  antiquities  and 
their  monuments,  breathing,  smacking,  and  smelling  of  nobility  and  roy- 
alty, and  because  half  of  the  people  are  magnates." 

I  take  note  of  this  remark,  because  I  believe  there  is  good,  solid  truth 

^Esthetics    at    Washington.  65 

vation  from  merely  material  luxury  and  sensual  enjoyment,  they 
require  it  as  the  guide  and  ornament  of  inevitable  structure  and 

Joyfully  have  the  governing  men  of  England,  France,  and 
Germany  beheld  in  the  United  States  that  policy  which  has 
denied  all  national  education,  except  for  the  purpose  of  war  and 
trade.  Joyfully  have  they  seen  the  individual  States  equally 
blind  to  the  swift  coming  requirements  of  this  people  ;  and  they 
have  founded  and  perfected  schools  of  design,  of  which  the 
abler  pupils  are  employed  in  illustrating  the  national  history ; 
the  lower  talents  fill  the  factory,  the  foundry,  and  the  atelier, 
to  fashion  fabrics  for  ourselves.  From  Boston  to  New  Orleans 
no  house,  no  tavern,  no  bar-room,  I  had  almost  said,  that  does 
not  give  proof,  by  the  tawdry  spawn  of  European  manufacture, 
of  our  tribute  to  their  savoir  /aire,  and  their  appreciation  of  our 

in  it.  "  Quoi  si  je  pourrai  fripponner  quelque  chose  pour  etayer  mon 
pauvre  petit  livre!"  I  should  have  placed  the  magnates  first  in  the 
list  of  obstacles  to  republican  progress,  but  I  will  not  quarrel  about  pre- 
cedence.    The  statesmen  may  be  allowed  to  settle  this  matter. 

I  rejoice  to  find  that  American  legislators  have  found  out  the  value 
and  significance  of  monuments,  and  of  antiquities  in  their  political  influ- 
ence. May  we  not  expect  that  our  civilization  and  our  institutions  will 
obtain  this  support  from  Congress  ?  I  hope,  in  a  subsequent  paper,  to 
urge  this  matter  more  fully.  I  will  now  merely  state  that  there  stands 
in  the  studio  of  Mr.  Powers,  at  Florence,  a  statue  of  America,  which  is 
not  only  a  beautiful  work  of  art,  but  which  "breathes,  smacks,  and 
smells"  of  Republicanism  and  Union.  If  placed  conspicuously,  by  Mr. 
Walter,  in  one  of  the  new  wings  of  the  Capitol,  it  would  be  a  monu- 
ment of  Union.  The  sooner  it  is  done,  the  sooner  it  will  become  an 
"  antiquity." 


66  ./Esthetics    at    Washington. 

taste.     But  what,  it  will  be  asked,  lias  the  development  of  art 
to  do  with  manufactures  ?     High  art  stands  in  relation  to  manu- 
factures and  all  the  so-called  lower  trades,  where  high  literature 
stands  in  relation  to  social  and  to  civil  life.     Ask  how  much  of 
the  fruit  of  high  culture  and  mental  training  reaches  the  public 
through  the  forum,  the  pulpit,  and  the  diurnal  press,  and  you  will 
have  the  measure  of  the  influence  of  pure  art  on  structure  and 
manufacture  in  all  their  branches.     Who  in  England  urged  this 
matter  upon  the  attention  of  Parliament,  until  the  best  models 
of  Greece  and  Italy  were  placed  within  reach  of  every  manu- 
facturing population  ?     The  Board  of  Trade.     That  body  caused 
to  be  translated  from  foreign  languages,  and  illustrated  by  ela- 
borate drawings,  the  most  approved  works  of  Munich,  Berlin, 
and  Paris.     They  have  ransacked,  at  great  cost,  the  mediaeval 
magnificence  of  Italy,  to  find  new  forms,  and  add  a  grace  to  the 
products  of  their  looms,  their  potteries,  and  their  foundries. 
Does  any  statesman  fancy  that  these  governments  have  been 
invaded  by  a  sudden  love  of  the  sublime  and  beautiful  ?     I 
believe  that  they  who  watch  our  markets  and  our  remittances, 
will  agree  with  me,  that  their  object  is  to  keep  the  national 
mints  of  America  at  work  for  themselves;  and  that  the  beau- 
tiful must,  to  some  extent,  be  cultivated  here,  if  we  would  avoid 
a  chronic  and  sometimes  an   acute  tightness  of  the  money 
market.     The   statistics  of  our  annual  importation   of  wares, 
which  owe  their  preference  solely  to  design,  will  throw  a  light 
on  this  question  that  will  command  the  attention  of  the  most 
thrifty  and  parsimonious  of  our  legislators. 

^Esthetics    at    Washington.  67 

In  founding  a  school  of  art,  we  have  an  obstacle  to  sur- 
mount, viz.  a  puritanical  intolerance  thereof.     The  first  work 
of  sculpture  by  an  American  hand  exhibited  in  this  country, 
executed  for  the  illustrious  Cooper,  was  a  group  of  children. 
The  artist  was  rebuked  and  mortified  by  loud  complaints  of 
their  nudity.     Those  infantine  forms  roused  an  outcry  of  cen- 
sure, which  seemed  to  have  exhausted  the  source  whence  it 
sprang,   since  all   the  harlot  dancers  who  have  found  an  El 
Dorado  in  these  Atlantic  cities,  have  failed  to  reawaken  it.     I 
say  seemed  to  have  exhausted  it — but  only  seemed — for  the 
same  purblind  squeamishness  which  gazed  without  alarm  at  the 
lascivious  Fandango,  awoke  with  a  roar  at  the  colossal  naked- 
ness of  Washington's  manly  breast.     This  fact  will  show  how 
easy  it  is  to  condemn  what  is  intrinsically  pure  and  innocent, 
to  say  the  least ;  how  difficult  to  repress  what  is  clearly  bad  and 
vicious.     They  who  speculate  upon  the  corrupt  tastes  of  a  pub- 
lic, when  they  have  learned  that  genteel  comedy  is  neglected, 
that  tragedy  is  unattractive,  that  galleries  of  painting  and  sta- 
tuary are  unknown  in  a  large  and  wealthy  community,  such 
speculators  take  their  Bayaderes  thither  as  to  a  sure  market. 
They  know  that  a  certain  duration  of  abstinence,  voluntary  or 
forced,  makes  garbage  tolerable,  and  ditch  water  a  luxury.     I 
do  not  venture  to  hope  that  even  high  art  will  abolish  "  cakes 
and  ale,"  but  I  trust  before  many  years  are  elapsed  no  usee 
Terpsichore  of  Paris  or  Vienna  will  be  able  to  show  half  a  mil- 
lion as  a  measure  of  our  appetite  for  the  meretricious. 

I  wish  not  to  be  misunderstood  for  a  moment  as  recommend- 

6S  .^Esthetics    at    Washington. 

ing  a  Smithsonian  school,  with  a  hierarchy  of  dignitaries  in  art. 
I  have  elsewhere  stated  my  conviction  that  such  a  system  is 
hostile  to  artistic  progress.     I  desire  to  see  working  Normal 
schools  of  structure  and  ornament,  organized  simply  but  effect- 
ively, and  constantly  occupied  in  designing  for  the  manufac- 
turers, and  for  all  mechanics  who  need  rcsthetical  guidance  in 
their  operations — schools  where  emulation  shall  be  kindled  by 
well  considered  stimuli,  and  where  all  that  is  vitally  important 
in  building  or  ornament  shall  be  thoroughly  taught  and  con- 
stantly practised.     I  know  not  how  far  the  limit  of  congres- 
sional action  may  admit  the  founding  of  such  schools  by  the 
central  government.     Should  it  be  impossible  to  interest  Con- 
gress in  the  matter,  I  am  not  without  hope  that  some,  at  least, 
of  the   State   legislatures   may    effect   it;     and,    failing  this 
resource,  I  hope  that  associated  individuals  will  combine  for  this 
object.     I  cannot  but  believe  that  a  report,  called  for  by  Con- 
gress, on  the  amount  of  goods  imported,  which  owe  the  favor 
they  find  here,  to  design,  would  show  the  importance  of  such 
schools  in  an  economical  point  of  view.     I  believe  that  such  a 
report  would  show  that  the  schools  which  we  refuse  to  support 
here,  we  support  abroad,  and  that  we  are  heavily  taxed  for 

It  surely  cannot  be  asking  too  much  that  the  seat  of  Govern- 
ment, where  the  national  structures  rise,  and  are  yearly  in- 
creasing in  number  and  importance,  should  present  a  specimen 
of  what  the  country  can  afford  in  material  and  workmanship, 
in  design  and  ornament.     If  this  were  resolved  on,  a  stimulus 

^Esthetics    at    Washington.  69 

would-be  given  to  exertion,  while  the  constant  experience  here 
acquired  would  soon  perfect  a  school  of  architectural  design. 

The  defects  of  the  stone  of  whicfi  the  Capitol  was  built, 
could  have  been  no  secret  to  Mr.  Bulfinch.  Had  there  existed 
a  board,  or  a  school,  or  any  other  responsible  depository  of 
architectural  experience,  we  should  not  have  witnessed  the 
deplorable  recurrence  to  the  same  quarries  for  the  construction 
of  the  Patent  Office  and  the  Treasury  buildings.  The  outlay 
in  paint  alone,  to  which  recourse  has  been  had  in  order  to 
sheathe  this  friable  material,  would  have  maintained  a  school 
which  would  have  saved  us  from  the  blunder,  not  to  mention 
the  great  advantage  we  should  have  derived  from  its  designs 
and  its  pupils.  Had  the  amount  expended  in  white  lead  been 
invested,  a  fund  would  have  now  accumulated  sufficient  to 
reface  them  all  with  marble.  I  am  convinced  that  true 
economy  would  at  this  moment  order  the  Potomac  stone, 
wherever  it  has  been  used,  to  be  immediately  replaced  by  a 
better  material. 

Setting  aside,  however,  the  question  of  economy,  and  look- 
ing at  the  question  of  propriety,  can  anything  be  more  absurd 
than  to  expend  millions  upon  noble  pieces  of  masonry,  and 
then  to  smear  them  with  lead — thereby  reducing  them  to  a 
level  with  the  meanest  shingle  palace  1  Stone  among  build- 
ing materials,  standing  'where  gold  stands  among  metals,  to 
paint  stone  is  like  covering  gold  with  tin-foil.  So  far  has  this 
been  carried,  that  even  in  the  Rotunda,  where  no  conceivable 
motive  could  exist  for  the  vandalism,  the  entire  masonry  has 

*70  ^Esthetics    at    Washington. 

been  painted,  and  that  too  of  various  tints,  so  that  I  will  ven- 
ture to  affirm  that  many  carry  away  the  idea,  that  the  whole 
is  but  a  piece  of  carpenter's  work.     The  treatment  of  the 
Treasury   buildings,  where   the   granite   basement   has   been 
painted  of  one  color,  the  columns  of  a  second,  and  the  wall 
behind  them  of  a  third,  where  even  the  lamp-posts  have  been 
daubed  with  divers  tints,  like  a  barber's  pole,  is  noticed  with 
priceless  naivete  in  an  important  public  document  as  a  neat 
piece  of  work.     What  shall  we  say  of  the  balustrades,  where 
massive  iron  bars  have  been  driven  bodily  into  the  columns, 
as  though  a  column  in  a  first  class  building  might  be  treated 
like  a  blind  wall  in  the  basest  structure,  and  that,  too,  with- 
out a  shadow  of  need  ?    What  shall  we  say  of  the  iron  railings 
that  obtrude  upon  the  eye  about  the  blockings  of  the  Patent 
Office,  and  veil,  with  their  inharmonious  blackness,  the  organ- 
ization of  that  building  ?     What  of  the  one  slender  chimney 
of  red  brick,  which  peers  over  the  broken  profile  of  the  marble 
Post  Office  ?     Will  any  adept  in  the  science  of  construction 
explain    why   the   gas   light   which    is   seen    at   the   eastern 
entrance  of  the  Capitol,  was  made  to  hang  with  so  many  feet 
of  tiny  pipe,  and  then  secured  by  shabby  wires  driven  into  the 
columns  ?     Would  any  person  conversant  with  the  proprieties 
of  building  tolerate  such  a  slovenly  arrangement  in  a  private 
house,  or  in  a  private  stable,  if  columns  formed  a  feature  of 
that  stable  ?     Do  not  such  absurd  and  ignorant  malpractices 
look  as  if  a  barbarous  race  had  undertaken  to  enjoy  the  mag- 
nificence of  a  conquered  people,  and  not  known  how  to  set 

^Esthetics    at    Washington.  11 

about  it  ?  Does  any  one  fancy  that  the  uninstructed  multitude 
does  not  feel  these  incongruities  ?  It  is  not  so.  As  well  may 
you  hope  to  sin  against  grammar  in  your  speeches,  and 
against  decency  and  self-respect  in  your  dress  or  deportment, 
and  expect  that  it  will  pass  unobserved. 

The  effect  produced  by  the  grounds  and  shrubbery  in  the 
neighborhood  of  the  Capitol  deserve  a  moment's  attention. 
There  is  somewhat  in  flower  beds  and  fancy  gardening,  with 
corbeilles  of  ephemeral  plants,  so  out  of  all  keeping  with  the 
character  and  functions  of  this  edifice,  as  to  give  the  spectator 
a  painful  sense  that  the  idea  of  the  adaptation  of  grounds  to 
buildings  has  never  recurred  to*>those  whose  duty  it  was  to 
look  after  these  matters.  Trees  and  verdure  are  beautiful, 
and  flowers  still  more  so,  but  they  are  impertinent  adjuncts 
to  the  Capitol  of  the  United  States,  and  where  they  veil  and 
obstruct  the  view  of  the  facade,  as  at  the  Post  Office,  are  insuf- 
ferable. The  creeping  vines  that  have  been  led  over  the  arches 
which  support  the  platform  in  rear  of  the  Naval  monument, 
are  a  grosser  instance  of  misguided  search  after  the  picturesque. 
If  these  arches  are  properly  constructed,  the  vines  are  imperti- 
nent, for  they  hide  their  articulation.  "Whether  well  or  ill 
built,  the  proximity  of  these  vines  is  a  destructive  element,  use- 
lessly added  to  the  inevitable  wear  of  the  weather.  Further,  if 
the  principle  which  guided  their  introduction  here  be  a  sound 
one,  logical  sequence  and  harmony  call  for  their  appearance  in 
other  like  situations. 

The  recent  appointment  of  a  gentleman  of  approved  taste  to 

72  ^Esthetics    at    Washington. 

superintend  the  arrangement  of  the  public  grounds,  gives  well 
founded  reasons  to  hope  that  these,  and  the  like  unsightly 
anomalies,  will  disappear ;  and  that  all,  at  least  within  his 
department,  will  be  made  in  harmony  with  the  character  and 
purposes  of  the  chief  edifice  of  the  country. 

The  position  of  the  group  of  Columbus  and  the  Indian  girl 
is  anomalous  and  absurd ;  anomalous,  because  it  invades  the 
front  view  of  the  portico,  chokes  the  facade,  and  hides  another 
statue  by  the  same  artist ;  absurd,  because  it  treats  the  building 
as  somewhat  on  which  to  mount  into  conspicuous  view,  not  as 
a  noble  and  important  vase  which  it  is  called  humbly  to  adorn 
and  illustrate.  The  statue  *bf  Washington  is  surrounded  by 
dwarf  cypress  and  clumps  of  rose  bush.  These  are  impertinent 
and  ridiculous — impertinent  because  they  hide  the  pedestal  and 
obstruct  the  view  of  the  inscription,  thus  overlaying  the  inten- 
tion of  the  monument,  and  that  for  the  mere  display  of  ephe- 
meral vegetation,  a  phenomenon,  however  attractive,  not  here 
in  place — ridiculous,  because  they  seem  as  if  intended  in  some 
way  to  help  and  eke  out  the  sculpture ;  which,  when  a  statue 
of  this  class  requires  it,  must  be  done  by  replacing  it  with 
something  worthy  to  stand  alone.  The  grass  within  the  rail- 
ing, if  cut  close,  destroys  the  monumental  effect,  by  the  exhi- 
bition of  frequent  care  ;  if  neglected,  offends  by  its  rank  growth 
and  decay.  The  railings  which  have  been  placed  about  the 
statues  of  the  Capitol  accuse  a  want  of  respect  for  the  public 
property.  They  accuse  it  without  remedying  it ;  for  in  spite 
of  their  protection,  perhaps  because  of  it,  the  statues  of  Colum- 

^Esthetics    at    Washington.  73 

bus  and  of  Washington  have  received  more  injury  in  the  few 
years  that  they  have  been  so  guarded,  than  many  figures 
wrought  before  the  birth  of  Christ  have  suffered  in  coming  to 
us  throuffh.  the  so-called  dark  ao-es.  I  have  several  times  seen 
boys  at  play  on  the  portico  of  the  Capitol ;  which,  if  right, 
makes  it  wrong  there  to  place  costly  sculptures.  If  I  protest 
against  iron  railings  around  statuary,  it  is  because  I  believe  they 
avail  not  for  their  object.  I  trust  to  the  intelligence  of  the 
many  to  do  justice  to  the  artistic  efforts  made  for  their  sake. 
In  the  end,  I  believe  the  people  will  be  the  best  guardians  of 
public  works  here,  as  they  have  proved  themselves  elsewhere. 
Four  lamps  have  been  placed  around  the  statue  of  Washing- 
ton ;  by  night  they  light  only  the  feet  of  the  figure,  by  day 
they  exactly  obstruct  two  of  the  principal  views  of  it.  I  doubt 
not  that  the  person  who  so  placed  these  lights  meant  to  do  the 
statue  a  service.  He  probably  never  heard  of  "the  eight 
views"  of  a  statue.  These  ever-jarring  principles  of  magnifi- 
cence and  economy — laying  out  millions  for  dignity,  and  deny- 
ing the  thousands  necessary  to  insure  care,  intelligence,  and 
taste,  in  their  conservation  and  exposition — produce  a  certain 
compound  of  pretension  and  meanness  of  effect,  highly  to  be 
deprecated  in  great  public  works.  I  say  highly  to  be  depre- 
cated, for,  however  they  who  have  given  no  attention  to  art 
and  its  influences  may  be  surprised  at  the  assertion — such  a 
chaos  cannot  be  daily  seen  with  impunity.  What  at  first 
shocked  soon  becomes  familiar,  and  the  susceptibility  to  healthy 
impressions  from  the  display  of  order,  harmony,  logical  depend- 

74  ^Esthetics    at    Washington. 

ence,  and  adaptation,  are  weakened,  if  not  destroyed  in  the 

I  have  mentioned  some  flagrant  instances  of  the  want  of  care 
or  of  knowledge  on  the  part  of  those  to  whom  the  national 
buildings  have  been  intrusted.  This  strain  of  remark  might  be 
continued  until  we  had  passed  in  review  almost  every  detail  of 
the  structure  and  ornaments  of  the  public  works.  It  is  an 
ungrateful  task.  Enough  has  been  said  to  show  that  the  evi- 
dent intention  of  Congress  to  render  these  buildings  and 
grounds  worthy  of  the  nation,  both  in  their  construction  and 
maintenance,  has  thus  far  been  very  imperfectly  effected.  I 
will  now  state  what  I  believe  to  be  the  reason  why  so  much 
outlay  has  produced  so  unsatisfactory  a  result.  First :  I  believe 
that  the  absence  of  any  clear  and  distinct  ideas  of  what  is 
becoming,  dignified,  and  proper  in  the  premises,  lies  at  the  root 
of  the  evil.  For  this  no  one  is  to  blame.  The  wants  of  this 
people  have  called — imperatively  called — the  active  and  able 
men  of  the  country  to  pursuits  far  removed  from  an  investiga- 
tion of  the  beautiful,  either  in  theory  or  in  practice.  These 
minds  have  been  engaged  in  laying  the  foundations,  broad  and 
deep,  of  a  mighty  empire.  They  have  reared  the  walls — they 
have  distributed  the  blessed  light  and  blessing  air  throughout 
the  vast  structure.  They  have  tamed  the  forest,  subdued  the 
wilderness,  and  spread  the  benign  influence  of  the  gospel  and 
of  education  from  the  Atlantic  to  the  Pacific  ocean.  They  have 
left  to  later  days  and  men  of  other  mould  the  task  of  throwing 
around  the  pillars  of  the  State  the  garlands  of  a  fine  artistic 

^Esthetics    at    Washington.  75 

culture.  Had  they  been  men  intent  upon  the  questions  that 
occupy  us  now,  they  had  been  as  unfit  for  the  task  imposed  on 
them,  as  the  land  was  unprepared  for  their  labors.  But  untu- 
tored as  they  were  in  the  mysteries  of  art,  an  instinct,  great, 
noble,  and  unerring,  guided  their  decision  in  respect  to  the 
visible  attributes  of  this  Metropolis.  The  selection  of  this  site, 
the  ground  plan  of  this  city,  show  the  outline  of  a  master  ;  and 
years  must  elapse  ere  any  school  which  we  can  found  will  be 
capable  of  worthily  filling  it.  Secondly :  I  believe  that  the 
heterogeneous  and  chaotic  character  of  these  buildings  and 
grounds  arises  from  an  ill-judged  interference  with  technical 
design  and  arrangement  on  the  part  of  men  in  authority,  whe- 
ther in  the  legislative  or  executive  branches  of  government. 
Since  our  institutions  carry  with  them,  as  a  necessary  conse- 
quence, a  frequent  change  in  the  personnel  of  government,  it  is 
clear  that  if  each  succeeding  wave  of  deputed  authority  is  to 
leave  the  impress  of  its  taste  and  its  will  upon  the  public  struc- 
tures, these  must,  ere  long,  be  but  a  patchwork  of  as  many 
whims,  fancies,  and  artistic  dogmas,  as  have  found  favor  in  the 
eyes  of  the  temporary  occupants  of  place,  unless  some  standard 
can  be  established  which  all  will  recognise — a  consummation 
not  now  to  be  hoped  for.  I  believe  that  this  country  is  alone 
in  referring  matters  of  art  to  legislative  committees.  In  Eng- 
land committees  supervise  and  report,  and  Parliament  criticises 
and  condemns,  but  the  artist  is  not  interfered  with,  in  his  own 
province.  The  law  maxim  is  held  good  in  that  case.  I  have 
been  told  that  the  invention  of  the  alto  relievo  upon  the  tym- 

7  6  ^Esthetics    at    Washington. 

panum,  was  due  to  Mr.  Adams.  If  so,  it  was  an  unhappy 
exertion  of  his  great  powers.  Sculpture,  when  it  adorns  build- 
ings, is  subordinate  to  them ;  and  when  the  sculptor  invades 
the  tympanum,  he  must  fill  it,  or  he  produces  a  meagre  and 
mean  effect.  Mr.  Adams  knew  all  of  art  that  books  and  much 
observation  could  teach  him,  but  he  could  not,  of  course,  be 
aware  of  the  many  proprieties  violated  in  that  invention.  The 
work  has  another  defect  as  sculpture.  It  is  the  translation  of 
rhetoric  into  stone — a  feat  often  fatal  to  the  rhetoric,  always 
fatal  to  the  stone. 

As  a  most  honorable  contrast  to  ever  conflicting  claims  of 
private  taste  and  whim  to  obtain  utterance  in  the  public  works, 
I  feel  pleasure  and  pride  in  observing  the  course  adopted  by 
the  architect  who  has  been  honored  with  the  task  of  adding 
the  wings  of  the  Capitol.  That  architect,  trained  in  the  sever- 
est school  of  ancient  art,  had  he  been  called  on  for  a  new 
building,  would  surely  have  attempted  something  very  different 
from  the  actual  Capitol.  Called  to  enlarge  it,  he  has  sought 
to  divest  himself  of  every  prepossession  that  would  interfere 
with  its  harmony  as  a  whole.  He  has  approached  his  task 
with  reverence.  He  has  sought  to  keep  company  with  his  pre- 
decessor. This  is  not  only  honorable  and  just  as  regards  La- 
trobe,  but  can  take  nothing  from  his  own  well  earned  reputa- 
tion. Speaking  now  and  in  view  of  the  mere  model,  I  doubt  if 
it  be  even  in  his  power  so  widely  to  extend  the  facade,  without 
painfully  isolating  the  cupola,  and  leaving  the  present  edifice 
too  low,  too  wanting  in  mass  and  weight,  to  characterize  a 

^Esthetics    at    Washington.  11 

centre.  Avoiding  this  defect,  he  will  triumph  over  a  great 
obstacle.  What  the  architect  has  here  decided  in  reference  to 
the  original  design  of  the  Capitol,  seems  worthy  of  all  emula- 
tion on  the  part  of  such  as,  by  the  vicissitudes  of  office,  may 
have  charge  of  the  national  buildings. 

In  all  remarks  upon  important  public  edifices,  there  is  a  two- 
fold subject  under  contemplation.  First :  The  organic  structure 
of  the  works.  Second :  Their  monumental  character.  To 
plant  a  building  firmly  on  the  ground — to  give  it  the  light  that 
may,  .the  air  that  must,  be  needed — to  apportion  the  spaces  for 
convenience — decide  their  size — and  model  their  shapes  for 
their  functions — these  acts  organize  a  building.  No  college  of 
architects  is  a  quorum  to  judge  this  part  of  the  task.  The 
occupants  alone  can  say  if  they  have  been  well  served ;  time 
alone  can  stamp  any  building  as  solid.  The  monumental  cha- 
racter of  a  building  has  reference  to  its  site — to  its  adaptation 
in  size  and  form  to  that  site.  It  has  reference  also  to  the 
external  expression  of  the  inward  functions  of  the  building — to 
adaptation  of  its  features  and  their  gradation  to  its  dignity  and 
importance,  and  it  relates,  moreover,  to  that  just  distinction 
which  taste  always  requires  between  external  breadth  and  inte- 
rior detail. 

To  ascertain  what  the  organic  requirements  of  a  building- 
like  the  Capitol  are,  is,  in  itself,  a  most  laborious  task.  To 
meet  them  requires  all  the  science  we  possess.  Have  we  not 
seen  the  House  of  Lords,  in  spite  of  all  the  experience  and  the 
knowledge  brought  to  bear  upon  the  vast  outlay  that  reared  it, 

78  ^Esthetics    at    Washington. 

pronounced  a  gewgaw  by  the  men  who  were  obliged  to  work 
therein  ?  Discomfort  and  annoyance  soon  find  utterance.  De- 
coration and  magnificence  in  such  cases,  like  the  velvet  and 
gilding  of  a  ship's  cabin,  seen  with  sea-sick  eyes,  aggravate  our 
discontent.  Nor  is  a  defective  arrangement  merely  uncom- 
fortable ;  it  may  prove  costly  beyond  all  belief.  I  have  been 
assured  by  one  of  the  chief  officers  of  a  department,  that  one- 
half  of  the  employes  of  his  section  of  the  administration,  were 
required  only  by  the  blundering  and  ignorant  arrangement  of 
the  edifice.  To  say  that  such  oversights  are  inevitable,  is  an 
unjust  accusation  of  the  art.  When  those  who  are  called  to 
the  task  of  lodging  one  of  the  departments  of  the  Government, 
shall  make  organization  the  basis  of  their  design,  instead  of  a 
predetermined  front,  which  often  deserves  to  have  the  inverted 
commas  of  quotation  affixed  to  it,  we  shall  hear  no  such  com- 
plaints as  I  have  above  related. 

The  men  who  have  reduced  locomotion  to  its  simplest  ele- 
ments, in  the  trotting  wagon  and  the  yacht  America,  are  nearer 
to  Athens  at  this  moment  than  they  who  would  bend  the  Greek 
temple  to  every  use.  I  contend  for  Greek  principles,  not  Greek 
things.  If  a  flat  sail  goes  nearest  wind,  a  bellying  sail,  though 
picturesque,  must  be  given  up.  The  slender  harness  and  tall 
gaunt  wheels  are  not  only  effective,  they  are  beautiful — for  they 
respect  the  beauty  of  a  horse,  and  do  not  uselessly  task  him. 
The  English  span  is  a  good  one,  but  they  lug  along  more  pre- 
tension than  beauty ;  they  are  stopped  in  their  way  to  claim 
respect  for  wealth  and  station  ;  they  are  stopped  for  this,  and, 

^Esthetics  at  Washington.     *79 

therefore,  easily  passed  by  those  who  care  not  to  seem,  but  are. 
To  prefer  housings  to  horseflesh,  and  trappings  to  men,  is  alike 
worthy  of  a  savage. 


A  national  monument  to  Washington  has  been  designed, 
and  is  in  process  of  construction.  A  lithographic  print  of  this 
design  is  before  the  public.  It  represents  an  obelisk,  rising  out 
of  a  low,  circular  building,  whose  exterior  presents  a  Greek 
colonnade  of  the  Doric  order.  A  fac-simile  of  the  endorsement 
of  some  of  our  most  distinguished  citizens  recommends  this 
design  to  their  fellow  countrymen.  I  propose  to  examine  the 

The  prominent  peculiarity  of  the  design  before  us  is  the  inter- 
marriage of  an  Egyptian  monument — whether  astronomical,  as 
I  believe,  or  Phallic,  as  contended  by  a  Boston  critic,  matters 
not  very  much — with  a  Greek  structure,  or  one  of  Greek  ele- 
ments. I  do  not  think  it  is  in  the  power  of  art  to  effect  such 
an  amalgamation,  without  corrupting  and  destroying  the  spe- 
cial beauties  and  characters  of  the  two  elements.  The  one, 
simple  even  to  monotony,  may  be  defined  a  gigantic  expression 
of  unity.  The  other  a  combination  of  organized  parts,  assem- 
bled for  a  common  object.  The  very  perfection  of  their  forms, 
as  exponents  of  so  distinct  characters,  makes  them  protest 
against  juxtaposition. 

80  ^Esthetics    at    Washington. 

If  the  union  of  Egyptian  mass  and  weight  with  Greek  com- 
bination and  harmony  be  heterodox,  the  order  in  which  they 
are  here  displayed  is  even  more  strikingly  a  violation  of  pro- 
priety. The  complex,  subdivided,  comparatively  light  Greek 
structure,  is  placed  as  a  basis,  a  foundation.  The  Egyptian 
mass  of  stone  rises  above  it.  When  this  arrangement  is  stated, 
I  must  think  that  its  palpable  absurdity  is  demonstrated.  It 
may  be  urged  that  those  weaker  and  more  slender  columns  veil 
a  massive  foundation  within  them.  We  had  guessed  this 
already,  because  a  miracle  alone  could  otherwise  sustain  the 
weight.  The  pillars  hide  the  strength  of  the  structure,  hence 
their  impertinence,  as  an  architectural  feature.  It  is  incum- 
bent upon  edifices,  first  to  be  strong;  secondly,  to  look 
strong.  We  have  read  of  a  colossus  of  brass,  with  feet  of 
clay,  and  the  image  is  striking.  To  an  architect,  Egyptian 
weight  sustained,  in  appearance,  by  Greek  pillars,  is  not  less  so. 
That  buildings,  in  rising  from  the  earth,  be  broad  and  simple 
at  their  bases,  that  they  grow  lighter  not  only  in  fact  but  in 
expression,  as  they  ascend,  is  a  principle  established.  The  laws 
of  gravitation  are  at  the  root  of  this  axiom.  The  spire  obeys 
it.     The  obelisk  is  its  simplest  expression. 

Waiving  the  impropriety  of  a  Doric  colonnade  as  a  basis  for 
an  obelisk,  I  object  to  that  order  for  a  circular  structure.  The 
Doric  capital,  in  its  upper  member,  echoes  and  parallels  the 
entablature.  In  a  circular  structure,  this  is  impossible,  without 
maiming  the  order.  Your  capital  protests  against  its  entabla- 
ture.    For  circular  structures,  in  the  temple  of  Vesta,  and  that 

^Esthetics    at    Washington.  81 

beautiful  ruin  at  Tivoli  for  instance,  the  Corinthian  capital  has 
been  adopted ;  but  the  Corinthian  is  too  manifestly  absurd  a 
basis  for  a  plain  shaft  of  stone. 

This  obelisk  is  made  to  differ  essentially  from  the  most 
admired  specimens  of  that  kind  of  monument.  The  differences 
are,  first,  in  the  relative  diameters  at  the  summit  and  base;" 
second,  in  the  relative  height  of  the  pyramidion  which  forms 
the  apex.  In  Cleopatra's  needle,  the  base  is  a  full  diagonal  of 
the  summit  of  the  prism.  In  this  the  base  is  less  than  that 
diagonal.  By  this  departure  from  example,  topheaviness  has 
been  obtained.  The  altitude  of  the  pyramidion,  in  Cleopatra's 
needle,  is  equal  to  the  width  of  the  base,  and  is,  of  course,  a 
very  acute  angle,  terminating  gradually  the  lofty  shaft.  In 
this,  the  pyramidion  forms  an  obtuse  angle,  its  altitude  is  so 
small  that  a  little  distance  will  obliterate  it  altogether,  and  the 
obelisk  must  assume  a  truncated,  and  of  course  unfinished 

When  Michael  Angelo  was  wending  his  way  from  Florence 

to  Rome,  to  assume  the  charge  of  finishing  St.  Peter's  Church, 

his  servant  related  that,  on  reaching  the  summit  of  the  Apen- 

nine,  near  Poggibonsi,  he  turned  his  horse  and  sat  gazing  long 

and  intently  upon  the  dome  of  Bruneleschi,  the  giant  cupola  of 

the  Florentine  cathedral.     After  some  time  he  was  heard  to 

growl,  "  Better  than  thee,  I  cannot ;  like  thee,  I  will  not."     The 

result  was  the  dome  of  St.  Peter's.     Michael  Angelo  "took  the 

responsibility,"  as  such   men   always  will.     He  did  it  at  his 

peril,  as  all  men  must.     Implicit  conformity  to  precedent  obli- 



terates  and  annihilates  the  individual;  violation  of  it,  not  jus- 
tified by.  theory,  or  by  practical  result,  sets  the  individual  on  no 
enviable  pedestal.     A  throne  may  become  a  pillory. 

The  obelisk  has  to  my  eye  a  singular  aptitude,  in  its  form 
and  character,  to  call  attention  to  a  spot  memorable  in  history. 
It  says  but  one  word,  but  it  speaks  loud.  If  I  understand  its 
voice,  it  says,  Here  !  It  says  no  more.  For  this  reason  it  was 
that  I  designed  an  obelisk  for  Bunker  Hill,  and  urged  argu- 
ments _  that  appeared  to  me  unanswerable  against  a  column 
standing  alone.*  If  this  be  the  expression  of  the  obelisk,  I 
object  to  the  site  of  the  proposed  monument. 

*  The  column  used  as  a  form  of  monument  has  two  advantages. 
First,  it  is  a  beautiful  object — confessedly  so.  Secondly,  it  requires  no 
study  or  thought ;  the  formula  being  ready  made  to  our  hands. 

I  object,  as  regards  the  first  of  these  advantages,  that  the  beauty  of  a 
column,  perfect  as  it  is,  is  a  relative  beauty,  and  arises  from  its  adapta- 
tion to  the  foundation  on  which  it  rests,  and  to  the  entablature  which 
it  is  organized  to  sustain.  The  spread  of  the  upper  member  of  the 
capital  calls  for  the  entablature,  cries  aloud  for  it.  The  absence  of  that 
burden  is  expressive  either  of  incompleteness,  if  the  object  be  fresh  and 
new,  or  of  ruin  if  it  bear  the  marks  of  age.  The  column  is,  therefore, 
essentially  fractional — a  capital  defect  in  a  monument,  which  should 
always  be  independent.  I  object  to  the  second  advantage  as  being  one 
only  to  the  ignorant  and  incapable.  I  hold  the  chief  value  of  a  monu- 
ment to  be  this,  that  it  affords  opportunity  for  feeling,  thought,  and 
study,  and  that  it  not  only  occasions  these  in  the  architect,  but  also  in 
the  beholder. 

I  have  urged  these  arguments  in  conversation,  and  have  sometimes 
been  met  by  the  declaration  that  my  hearer  did  not  feel  their  force  as 
against  what  he  liked  in  itself.  I  may  state  here  that  such  a  feeling 
places  him  in  the  same  category  with  those  to  whom  it  is  indifferent 

^Esthetics    at    Washington.  83 

I  protest  also  against  the  enormous  dimensions  of  this  struc- 
ture. It  is  another  example  of  the  arithmetical  sublime — an 
attempt  to  realize  in  art  the  physical  truth  that  many  little 
things  united  form  one  great  one ;  which  in  art  is  not  true, 
A  monolithe,  a  single  shaft  of  granite,  has  a  value  like  that  of 
the  diamond — a  value  which  increases  in  a  geometric  ratio 
with  its  weight.  Why  ?  Because  its  extraction  from  the 
quarry,  its  elaboration  and  safe  erection  show  not  only  wealth, 
but  science.  The  temple  of  Minerva,  at  Athens — the  marvel  of 
ancient  as  of  modern  critics — was  scarce  larger  than  one  of  our 
schoolhouses.  It  was  great,  but  not  large.  It  was  a  jewel, 
both  of  design  and  structure.  It  was  an  embodiment  of 

To  be  impressive,  a  monument  must  contain  thought  and 
feeling.     Flendum  est  primum  ipsi  tibi  !     Your  five  hundred 

whether  a  book  he  held  with  the  right  or  with  the  wrong  side  up.  It 
accuses  want  of  vision  or  want  of  instruction. 

But  ancient  Rome  possessed  two  of  these  monuments,  London  has 
two,  and  Paris  has  two.  To  this  I  will  only  answer  that  London  and 
Paris  have  confessedly  followed  Rome  in  this  matter,  and  Rome  was 
more  eager  to  seize  upon  and  appropriate  the  Greek  magnificence  than 
capable  of  digesting  and  assimilating  it.  But  the  attempting  now  to 
argue  against  columns,  so  universally  admired  as  monuments,  is  pre- 
sumptuous.    I  object  to  this  objection  that  it  is  not  American. 

The  column  used  as  an  integral  monument,  however  its  fractional 
character  may  be  disguised  by  urns,  statues,  or  other  objects  placed 
upon  it,  belongs  to  the  numerous  and  respectable  family  of  makeshifts 
— taking  a  form  or  object  designed  for  one  purpose,  and  applying  it  to 
another — which  is  a  violation  of  the  first  sublime  law  of  creation. 
Creation  supposes  that  neither  material  nor  power  is  wanting. 

84  ^Esthetics    at    Washington. 

feet  of  granite  built  as  chimneys  are,  stone  upon  stone,  is  a 
failure.  It  shows  how  much  you  are  willing  to  spend  to  have 
done  with  it.     "  Ilfaut  'payer  de  sa  peau  /" 

A  structure  which  rises  five  hundred  feet  from  the  ground 
and  bears  the  name  of  Washington,  must  form  a  unique  fea- 
ture in  this  metropolis.  It  must  command  the  attention  of 
every  one,  be  he  American  or  foreigner,  who  sees  its  lofty  shaft 
towering  into  the  blue,  and  holding  the  sunshine  after  twilight 
is  grey  below.  What  will  be  its  effect  artistically  speaking  ? 
Kneading  into  incongruous  contact  elements  hitherto  only 
jumbled  by  conquest  and  ruin — truncated— bare — without  gra- 
dation and  without  finale — standing  upon  crumbling  detail — 
heavy  above  and  light  below — it  will  be  a  symbol  of  huge 
aspiration  and  chaotic  impotence. 

Monuments  to  really  great  men  are  opportunities  on  which 
to  hang  the  proofs  of  the  development  of  art.  The  great  need 
them  not.  We  need  them.  The  tombs  of  the  Medici  embody 
the  theory  of  Buonarotti.  The  statue  of  Frederic  is  the  apo- 
theosis of  Prussian  sculpture. 

The  obelisk  which  stands  at  the  entrance  of  the  Champs 
Elysees  is  typical  of  African  conquest.  Like  the  captive  ele- 
phants led  in  a  Roman  show,  its  exotic  form  gives  significance 
to  the  triumph  that  placed  it  there.  The  monolithes  that  tower 
before  the  Roman  Basilicas  have  also  a  certain  propriety  in  the 
residence  of  an  absolute  temporal  prince,  who  is  at  the  same 
time  assumed  to  be  the  vicar  of  Christ.  All  forms  may  be 
collected  without,  as  all  tongues  are  spoken  within. 

^Esthetics    at    Washington.  85 

I  am  aware  that  there  is  scarce  an  architect  in  the  country 
that  could  not  have  demonstrated  the  absurdity  of  the  monu- 
ment I  have  examined,  and  have  thus  prevented  its  consumma- 
tion.    Why  were  they  all  silent  ? 


The  general  aspect  of  this  picture  is  striking.  The  idea  of 
representing  these  heroes  of  our  history,  engaged  in  prayer  on 
the  deck  of  the  good  ship  that  was  to  waft  them  to  these 
shores,  was  an  ingenious  and  a  happy  one.  The  composition 
of  lines  is  worthy  of  Mr.  Weir,  and  shows  a  profound  study  of 
that  very  difficult  branch  of  his  art.  There  is  no  clap-trap  or 
vulgar  effect  in  the  arrangement — all  are  in  their  places,  and  a 
pleasing  variety  has  been  created  without  any  theatrical  make- 
shift. The  subject  has  been  treated  with  due  reverence — con- 
scientiously.    It  is  a  work  of  good  omen. 

The  arrangement  of  the  chiaro-scuro  is  a  puzzle  to  my  under- 
standing. I  see  a  circle  of  light  inclosing  a  broad  mass  of  half 
shadow.  In  this  half  shadow  lies  the  pith  and  marrow  of  the 
subject  matter  of  this  composition.  He  who  prays — he  who 
holds  the  sacred  volume — the  mother  with  her  ailing  child — 
all  these  are  in  twilight,  while  the  evidence  and  flash  of  day  are 
reserved  for  figures  half  averted — piebald  silks,  and  gleaming 
armor,  with  other  objects  essentially  accessory. 

86  Esthetics    at    Washington. 

If  any  deep-laid  train  be  here  to  rouse  the  attention  and 
chain  it  to  the  important  features  of  this  page,  it  has  missed  its 
object  with  me.  I  long  to  haul  a  sail  aside,  if  sail  it  be  that 
makes  this  mischief,  and  let  in  a  shaft  of  light  upon  that  pray- 
erful face.  I  am  out  of  humor  with  that  dress,  so  real,  which 
mocks  my  desire  to  see  men.  The  armor  is  true  Milan  steel. 
The  men  are  foggy.  The  sail  is  real — the  maker  would 
swear  to  his  stitches.  The  hobnailed  shoes  are  so  new  and 
actual  that  I  smell  leather  as  I  stand  there.  To  balance  the 
execution,  the  hair  should  be  less  conventional — the  flesh,  too, 
more  transparent  and  life-like.  I  see  no  gleam  from  any  eye 
in  all  that  company ;  but  the  iron  ring  in  yonder  foot  of  the 
sail  twinkles  ambitiously.  This  inversion  of  the  true  law  of 
emphasis  is  unaccountable  to  me  in  this  master.  Had  I  any 
hope  of  influencing  him,  I  would  beg  of  him,  while  yet  it  is 
day,  to  modify  the  effect  of  this  work.  If  I  despaired  of  bring- 
ing the  heads  and  hands  up  to  the  still-life,  I  would  put  the 
latter  down,  not  only  in  light  but  in  elaboration  and  illusion, 
until  it  kept  its  place. 

Light  in  a  composition  is  like  sound  and  emphasis  in  deli- 
very. You  may  make  a  figure  or  a  group  tell  darkly  amid  a 
glare  for  certain  purposes ;  not  when  the  nuances  of  physi- 
ognomy and  emotion  are  essential.  Awfully  have  I  seen  in  a 
broad,  illuminated  group,  a  cloud  darken  Judas  as  he  gave  the 
traitor  kiss  to  our  Lord.  The  masters  of  Venice  have  more 
than  once  succeeded  in  giving  to  figures  in  shadow  all  the 
roundness,  glow,  and   reality,  admitted  in  the  highest  light ; 

^Esthetics    at    Washington.  8*7 

where  that  power  of  pencil  is,  who  could  deny  the  right  quid- 
libet  audendi  ?  To  rny  sense,  here  are  figures  more  important 
than  these  on  the  foreground,  which  are  flat,  and  cold, 
and  dim. 

"Who  can  doubt  that  Mr.  Weir,  had  he  lived  in  an  age  and 
country  where  art  was  prized,  would  have  wrought  many 
great,  instead  of  this  one  very  respectable  picture  ?  I  mean  for 
the  government. 

As  I  have  ventured  to  complain  of  the  Flemish  illusion  and 
microscopic  finish  of  the  accessories  in  this  picture,  contrasted 
as  they  are  by  an  execution  rather  dim  and  vague  in  the  chief 
figures,  I  will  further  explain  my  meaning  by  a  contrary  exam- 
ple in  a  master-piece  of  ancient  art.  In  the  group  of  Laocoon 
we  never  weary  of  admiring  the  palpitating  agony  of  the 
father,  the  helpless  struggles  of  the  sons.  The  serpents,  which 
are  the  causes  of  this  pain  and  despair,  are  scarce  noticed ; 
why  ?  because  the  artist  wished  to  chain  our  attention  upon 
the  human  portion  of  the  spectacle.  He  had  no  means  of  veil- 
ing the  snakes  in  shadow ;  but  he  has  veiled  them  in  the  mode 
of  treatment.  There  is  more  imitation,  undercutting,  illusion, 
in  one  of  the  grey  locks  of  the  old  man,  than  in  the  serpents' 
whole  form.  Even  their  heads,  as  they  strike,  are  made  vague 
and  indistinct.  Do  we  suppose  that  the  sculptor  who  made 
those  limbs  throb,  and  that  marble  mouth  hot  with  pain,  was 
blind  to  the  beauty  of  the  bossed  hide  and  abdominal  rings  of 
a  snake  ?  This  is  impossible.  He  gave  only  enough  of  the 
snakes  to  tell  the  story,  because  the  snakes  were  not  the  sub- 

88  ^Esthetics    at    Washington. 

jects  of  his  chisel,  but  the  men.  This  is  art;  nay,  this  is 
pure  art. 

The  same  rule,  or  a  rule  analogous  to  this,  decides  the  treat- 
ment of  drapery  in  the  higher  works  of  Greece.  In  decorative 
statuary,  the  Greek  showed  his  feeling  for  all  the  minutest 
graces,  and  the  most  accidental  effects  of  varied  stuffs ;  and  his 
hand  echoed  his  eye,  and  mirrored  the  whole  in  stone.  But  in 
his  great  works,  the  stuff  is  one,  and  all  the  folds  are  wrought 
broad  and  simple.  He  avoids  small  facts,  that  he  may  fasten 
your  eye  upon  great  truth.  To  be  true  to  fact,  the  figure  of 
Laocoon  should  be  clothed  in  a  priest's  dress — clothe  him  thus, 
and  the  subject  is  for  a  painter.  The  first  postulate  of  sculp- 
ture in  its  essence  is,  that  the  veil  of  convention  be  rent.  Dress 
the  fighting  gladiator,  and  you  might  as  well  sculpture  a  house, 
and  tell  me  that  a  fighting  hero  is  inside  thereof;  or  say,  as 
Michael  Angel o  playfully  said,  that  perfection  lies  in  every  rock 
that  rolls  from  a  quarry.  True  it  is,  that  perfect  beauty  is  in 
every  rock ;  the  art  lies  in  stripping  therefrom  the  dress  of  chips 
that  disguise  it. 

There  is  one  law  of  painting,  as  of  sculpture,  which  he  alone 
can  fully  understand  and  obey  who  is  conversant  with  both 
arts.  This  law  commands,  to  lay  the  stress  of  study  there 
where  the  art  is  strong,  and  avoid,  as  far  as  may  be,  the  occa- 
sion of  showing  its  impotence.  For  instance,  when  in  the 
fifteenth  century  they  attempted  perspective  in  bas-relief,  they 
blundered ;  because  the  success  is  partial,  and  unable  to  keep 
company  with  painted  perspective,  where  it  is  perfect.     The 

Esthetics     at     Washington.  89 

flying  hair  and  waving  draperies  of  Bernini,  are  similar  proofs 
of  ill-judged  toil.  They  are  a  conquest  of  mechanical  difficulty, 
and  so  is  the  Chinese  ivory  ball  within  ball — both  belong  to  the 
same  family,  characterized  by  Reynolds  as  laborious  effects  of 
idleness ;  both  are  curious  and  amusing,  and  so  is  a  juggler — 
but  not  in  the  Senate. 


I  was  wandering,  the  evening  of  my  arrival  in  Washington, 
after  a  nine  years'  absence ;  musing  as  I  walked,  I  found  myself 
on  the  banks  of  the  Potomac.  I  was  reflecting  upon  the  sin- 
gular contrast  between  the  non-committal,  negative  nomencla- 
ture of  these  avenues  and  streets,  and  the  sagacious  policy 
which,  in  Europe,  makes  every  name  a  monument,  every 
square  enforce  the  creed,  every  bridge  echo  an  historical  fact, 
or  record  a  triumph  of  principle.  Nature,  in  the  moral  world, 
still  abhors  a  vacuum,  and  I  felt  that  A,  B,  C  street  were  tem- 
porary names — squatters,  waiting  till  the  rightful  lords  of  the 
domain  shall  appear. 

I  pondered  in  my  mind  the  structure  of  a  monument  which 
should  record  the  labors,  sufferings,  and  triumph  of  the  cham- 
pions of  freedom ; — of  free  thought  and  belief,  of  free  speech 
and  free  action.  The  moon  was  rising,  half  veiled  by  long- 
straight  bars  of  heavy  cloud.     She  rose  out  of  them,  and  her 

light  fell  broad  and  bright  on  the  distant  Capitol,  with  triple 


90  ^Esthetics    at    Washington. 

dome  and  stately  columns.  My  eagerness  to  rear  the  pile  I 
had  been  dreaming  of  was  hushed.  I  thought  I  saw  it  there 
before  me  !  Those  pillars  were  no  more  mere  shafts  of  stone ; 
Luther  and  Melancthon,  Russell,  Hampden,  Galileo,  Savona- 
rola, Sarpi,  and  a  host  besides,  united  in  spectral  majesty  with 
the  worthies  of  our  own  land  to  uphold  the  roof!  The  whole 
was  cemented  with  the  blood  of  martyrs.  No  man  that  had 
cast  fear  behind  him,  and  done  battle  for  the  right,  but  had 
given  his  grain  to  form  that  temple.  It  stirred  me,  for  I  am 
not  used  to  the  sight.  A  few  weeks  earlier  I  had  been  seated 
beside  a  pale  Dominican  friar  in  the  cell  where  Savonarola 
dwelt,  and  where  hung  a  picture  of  the  Puritan  of  the  Arno, 
burning  on  the  great  square,  and  steadied  amid  the  flames,  by 
masked  monks,  as  he  reeled  amid  the  choking  heat ;  I 
thought  how  different  is  the  fire  that  here  burns.  As  a  mere 
unit  of  humanity  I  felt  consoled.  Suddenly,  as  I  walked,  the 
dark  form  of  the  Smithsonian  palace  rose  between  me  and  the 
white  Capitol,  and  I  stopped.  Tower  and  battlement,  and  all 
that  mediaeval  confusion,  stamped  itself  on  the  halls  of  Con- 
gress, as  ink  on  paper !  Dark  on  that  whiteness — complication 
on  that  simplicity !  It  scared  me.  Was  it  a  spectre,  or  was 
not  I  another  Rip  Van  Winkle  who  had  slept  too  long?  It 
seemed  to  threaten.  It  seemed  to  say,  I  bide  my  time  !  Oh, 
it  was  indeed  monastic  at  that  hour ! 

I  never  was  of  those  who  hold  that  there  is  a  covered  way 
from  the  Vatican  to  Avernus,  on  the  one  hand,  corresponding 
to  that  which  leads  to  the  Fort  of  .St.  Angelo,  on  the  other.     I 

^Esthetics    at    Washington.  91 

have  seen  the  Italian  clergy  nearly — sometimes  intimately — 
from  the  prelate  to  the  begging  friar ;  I  have  admired  their 
scholars,  and. have  loved  their  men.     I  revere  the  bridge  over 
which  oxrr  faith  has  been  borne  to  us.     I  am  not  so  ignorant 
of  history  as  to  repudiate  the  sagacious  preservers  of  the  old 
Latin  civilization.     Still,  I  have  brought  from  that  land  a  fear 
of  their  doctrine,  and  a  hatred  of  their  politics.     I  fear  their 
doctrine,  because  it  seems  to  lull  and  to  benumb  the  general, 
the  average  mind,  while  it  rouses  and  spurs  the  few.     I  fear  it 
the  more  because  others  do  not  fear  it.     I  hate  their  politics 
because  they  are  hostile  to  ours. 

This  it  was  that  made  me  shudder  at  that  dark  pile — that 
castle  of  authority — that  outwork  of  prescription.  On  walk- 
ing round  to  the  south,  I  was  much  relieved ;  I  could  see 
through  and  through  the  building.  This  was  a  departure 
from  all  that  I  had  seen  in  the  real,  old  turreted  fortresses 
of  theology.     It  was  of  good  omen. 

I  am  not  about  to  criticize  the  edifice.     I  have  not  quite 
recovered  from   my  alarm.     There  is  still  a  certain  mystery 
about  those  towers  and  steep  belfries  that  makes  me  uneasy. 
This   is    a   practical    land.     They   must    be   for   something. 
Is  no  coup  d'etat  lurking  there  ?     Can  they  be  merely  orna- 
ments, like  the  tassels  to  a  University  cap  ?     Perhaps  they 
are  an  allopathic  dose  adminstered  to  that  parsimony  which 
so  lona"  denied  to  science  where  to  lay  her  head — contraria 
contrariis  curantur  !     They  must  have  cost  much  money. 
"Bosom'd  high  in  tufted  trees,"  the  Smithsonian  College 

92  ^Esthetics    at    Washington. 

must,  in  itself,  be  hereafter  a  most  picturesque  object — the 
models,  whence  it  has  been  imitated,  are  both  "  rich  and  rare" 
— the  connoisseurs  may  well  "  wonder  how  the  devil  it  got 

I  propose  to  examine  the  building  hereafter,  with  reference 
to  its  organization  for  a  distinct  purpose. 


An  American  citizen,  standing  here  upon  the  pavement  of 
the  principal  avenue  of  the  Metropolis,  sees  five  ensigns  of  the 
United  States  flying  within  sight  of  each  other.     Two  of  these 
flags  float  over  the  halls  of  Congress,  and  announce  a  session 
of  both  branches  of  the  legislature  ;  a  third  adorns  the  roof  of 
an  omnibus  as  a  gala  decoration ;  a  fourth  appears  on  the 
roof-tree  of  a  new  hotel  as  a  sign,  or  perhaps  puff  extraordinary ; 
a  fifth  marks  the  site  of  an  engine-house.     I  cannot  but  think 
that  several  of  these  flags  are  misplaced.     Their  use  at  the 
Capitol  has  always  struck  my  eye  as  appropriate  and  beautiful. 
The  other  instances  of  their  appearance  which  I  have  mention- 
ed seem  an  abuse,  a  desecration   of  the  national  symbol  of 

There  is  always  a  tendency  in  every  community  to  seize 
upon  and  make  use  of  that  which  is  public,  or  of  general  influ- 
ence and  widely  recognised  significance.  The  same  holy 
symbol  which  surmounts  the  cupola  of  all  Roman  Catholic 

^Esthetics    at    Washington.  93 

cathedrals,  is  made  in  Italy  to  answer  the  end  which  in  Eng- 
land is  effected  by  a  bit  of  board,  bearing  the  words  "commit 
no  nuisance."  When  the  position  which  it  is  desired  to  protect 
is  particularly  exposed,  the  cross  is  repeated  ten,  twenty,  fifty 
times,  and  is  even  reinforced  by  verses  in  honor  of  saints, 
martyrs,  and  the  Holy  Virgin.  A  foreigner  is  much  shocked 
by  such  a  practice.  The  natives  smile  at  his  squeamishness — 
they  are  used  to  it ;  yet  they  all  quote  "  nee  Deus  intersit,  etc." 
readily  enough  upon  other  occasions. 

It  is  very  clear  that  the  national  flag,  however  some  persons 
may  smile  at  the  assertion,  has  a  deep  and  noble  significance, 
one  which  we  should  hold  sacred  and  do  nothing  to  impair. 
Were  it  a  mere  "  bit  of  bunting,"  as  the  British  Foreign  Secre- 
tary thoughtlessly  or  artfully  styled  it,  why  should  we  see  it 
universally  paraded? 

I  believe  no  one  will  deny  that  the  colors  of  the  Union 
hoisted  at  the  dockyards  and  arsenals  assert  the  national  pos- 
session— that  they  proclaim  the  nationality  of  our  merchant 
ships  in  foreign  parts,  and  sanction  the  display  of  our  naval 
power.  These  and  the  like  occasions  call  for  them,  and  their 
appearance  has  a  value  and  expression  of  a  peculiar  kind.  Is 
it  doubtful  that  the  dragging  them  through  the  streets  by  who- 
soever chooses  so  to  do,  the  parading  them  upon  taverns,  and 
raree-shows,  and  other  like  trivial  occasions,  tends  to  degrade 
and  weaken  their  special  meaning  and  value  ?  I  may  be  told 
that  the  abuse,  if  such  it  be,  is  rather  within  the  region  of  taste 
than  of  legal  observance.     I  regret  that  it  is  so,  because  the 

94  JEt  s  t  ii  e  t  i  c  s    at    Washington. 

whole  matter  has  assumed  its  present  aspect,  because  it  is 
"  nobody's  business"  to  interfere.  It  is  merely  as  a  question  of 
taste  that  I  speak  of  it,  and  as  such,  I  believe  that  a  little  reflec- 
tion will  show,  that  accustomed  as  we  are  to  see  the  flag  hung 
out  " a-propos  de  bottes"  and  sometimes  hanging  downwards 
too,  so  as  almost  to  touch  the  heads  of  the  horses  as  they  pass, 
our  indifference  to  the  desecration  is  merely  a  measure  of  use, 
and  wont,  and  analogous,  though  not  equal  to  the  obtuseness 
of  the  Catholic,  who  uses  the  cross  of  the  Redeemer  in  lieu  of  a 
by-law  or  police  regulation. 

I  have  heard  the  right  of  each  citizen  to  use  the  national  flag 
stoutly  maintained.     I  cannot  see  why  the  consular  seal,  or  the 
gardens  of  the  White  House,  are  not  equally  at  his  mercy. 
There  is  another  argument  which  may  be  called  the  argumen- 
tum  ad  Buncombe,  and  which  might  easily  be  resorted  to  to 
defend  this   and   the  like  abuses,  viz.,  That  it  is  peculiarly 
American  and  democratic.     The  English  long  asserted  a  right 
to  be  coarse  and  uncourteous  as  a  proof  of  sincerity  and  frank- 
ness.    John  Bull,  they  contended,  was  too  honest  to  be  civil. 
There  is  much  nonsense  of  this  sort  in  the  old  books.     Exces- 
sive beer-drinking  and  other  gluttonies  were  upheld  as  having 
some  mysterious  virtue  in  them.     Sailors  used  to  swear  and 
blaspheme  in  a  similar  way.     It  was  expected  of  them,  and 
required  no  apology.     When  such  notions  yielded,  as  they 
must,  to  reflection  and  cultivation,  it  was  seen  at  once  that  they 
had  been  only  abuses  or  barbarisms  ingeniously  hitched  on  to 
other  qualities,  and  identified  with  self-love. 


The  plant  of  civilization,  like  other  plants,  springs  from  God's 
ground ;  it  has  its  roots  in  the  business  and  bosoms  of  men, 
throws  into  the  sunshine  and  the  air  the  stem  and  branches  of 
its  toil  and  its  culture,  blossoms  in  poetry  and  heroism,  and 
bears  at  length  the  fruit  of  science,  which  is  a  forbidden  fruit 
only  in  its  pulp  and  rind — its  seeds  are  wisdom — not  all  wis- 
dom, for  of  the  seed  itself  the  germ  is  small  part,  since  there, 
too,  is  a  rind  and  a  pulp,  even  the  divine  embryo  of  future 
improvement  therein  wrapped  and  conserved  cannot  quicken 
unless  it  die,  for  this  is  not  a  world  for  Eureka  !  and  exultation, 
but  for  courage,  toil,  and  brotherly  love. 

Herein  do  I  find  the  mischiefs  of  the  older  world  that  they 
have  sought  to  establish,  check,  and  stop  the  rolling  ball  that 
circles  round  the  sun  ;  and  truly  they  were  giants,  for  though 
they  could  not  stop  they  have  shaken  it,  which  is  enough, 
when  you  consider  who  made  it  and  set  it  going. 

The  higher  development  of  each  civilization  is  a  self-criti- 
cism, and  along  with  the  condemnation  of  the  past,  neatly 
packed  in  silken  integument,  lies  a  promise  of  better  things. 
But  this  divine  verdict,  towering  at  the  top  of  the  plant,  can 
only  wither  by  staying  there ;  it  must  be  blown,  or  shaken,  or 

96  Social    Theories. 

plucked  thence,  and  consigned  to  that  earth  which  we  all  despise 
so  truly — the  hearts  and  heads  of  common  men.  There  must  it 
find  the  soil  and  moisture,  blood  and  tears,  which  burst  its  rind 
and  evolve  the  godhead  within. 

The  philosophy  of  Aristotle,  the  method  of  Bacon,  the  poli- 
tics of  Machiavelli,  the  social  contract  of  Rousseau,  the  Tiran- 
nide  of  Alfieri,  and  the  philanthropy  of  Wilberforce,  have  by 
turns  entered  into  the  brains  and  arms  of  men  who  knew  not 
how  to  write,  else  had  they  been  mere  figments  of  the  brain. 

The  rhetorical  beauty  and  elaborate  putting  out  of  hand  of 
these  gentlemen's  performances  mark  their  position  in  the 
career  of  culture ;  not  roots,  but  lordly  seed  cups  are  they. 
They  have  no  filaments  that  pierce  the  solid  earth  with  a  dia- 
meter of  a  spider's  web,  yet  absorb.  Not  cushioned  in  cool 
halls,  sacred  to  stillness  and  fragrant  with  Russia  binding,  "do 
men  found  dynasties.  The  sign-manual  of  the  Grand  Turk 
hath  a  blood  relationship  with  these  cunning  fruits  of  the 
human  mind,  these  theories  incarnate  in  rhetoric.  It  also  is 
symmetrical,  elaborate,  pleasing  to  the  eye,  but  if  you  will 
mark  well  its  contour  and  features,  you  shall  yet  see  the  bloody 
hand  laid  down  on  the  sheepskin — which  was  its  prototype. 

Study  thou  thy  botanies ;  it  is  well ;  but  still  shalt  thou 
make  the  good  Scotch  gardener  smile  at  thy  shortcomings  ; 
study  thou  thy  anatomies  ;  it  is  well ;  still  shall  a  Silesian  pea- 
sant cure,  while  thy  utmost  book  only  sufncetk  to  kill ;  study 
thou  thy  electricities  and  chemistry  in  thy  institute  and  Royal 
College,  yet  shall  one  American  painter  alone  report  thee  to 

Social    Theories.  97 

the  antipodes,  another  row  tliee  thither ;  study  thou  thy 
mechanics,  and  forces,  and  mathematics,  build  thy  practical 
navies  and  thy  yachts  made  by  scientific  norma  to  outstrip  the 
world  ;  yet  shall  the  shrewd  eye  and  rule  of  thumb  suffice  to 
leave  thee  seven  miles  to  leeward,  while  thy  queen  sees  the 
discomfiture  through  her  tears. 

The  voyage  of  discovery  and  improvement  hath  been  made 
with  a  captain  who  came  in  through  the  cabin  windows,  but 
there  were  good  dumb  boatswains  on  board,  who  managed  to 
say  yes  and  no. 

We  who  cut  stone,  temper  our  tools  and  choose  our  blocks 
by  rules  that  are  not  in  the  Encyclopaedia  or  Conversations- 
Lexicon.  We  are  jealous  of  these  knowledges,  many  of  them 
are  vague,  dim  guess-work  to  appearance.  When  the  book- 
maker doth  cross-question  us  to  extract  the  kernel  of  our  toil, 
we  hang  the  lip  and  look  silly ;  under  the  garb  of  inarticulate 
stupidity  lies  a  grim  determination  that  the  idler  en^er  not  into 
our  rest. 

When  the  great  monolithe  was  erected,  by  Fontana,  if  I 
remember,  in  the  square  of  St.  Peter's,  it  was  determined  to 
make  that  job  an  incarnation  of  the  means  and  knowledge  of 
Eome.  This  was  noble  and  truly  human.  They  arranged 
their  tackle,  spotted  their  hands,  and  a  papal  edict  promised 
death  to  any  man  who  should  utter  a  word,  until  the  engineer 
gave  the  signal  that  all  risk  was  past.  The  square  was  full  of 
admiring  eyes  and  beating  hearts;  slowly  that  huge  crystalliza- 
tion of  Egyptian   sweat  rose  on  its  basis — five  degrees,  ten, 

98  Social    Theories. 


fifteen,  twenty,  alas  !  There  be  signs  of  faltering;  no  matter! 
twenty-five,  thirty,  forty,  forty-three — there  is  trouble !  Lo ! 
the  hempen  cables  that,  like  faithful  servants,  have  thus  far 
obeyed  the  mathematician,  have  suddenly  lugged  out  an  order 
from  God  not  to  hold  that  base  steady  any  longer  on  those 
terms.  The  engineer,  "who  knew  the  hand-writing,  trembled ; 
the  obedient  masons  and  fachini  looked  down,  then  eyed  the 
threatening  mass.  The  question  was,  which  way  it  would  fall. 
Among  the  crowd,  silence!  The  sun  poured  down  on  the 
stillness  and  the  despair.  Suddenly  from  out  that  breathless 
mass  of  men  there  came  a  voice,  clear  as  the  archangel's  trum- 
pet, Wet  the  ropes  !  The  crowd  turned.  Tiptoe  on  a  post  stood 
a  fellow  in  a  jacket  of  humble  homespun,  his  eye  full  of  fire, 
and  his  hair  rising  with  the  sense  of  his  responsibility ;  from 
engineer  to  humblest  fachino  that  order  had  instant  obe- 
dience ;  the  cables,  which  only  wanted  the  water  cure,  bit  fiercely 
into  the  glanite  ;  the  windlasses  were  manned  once  more,  the 
obelisk  rose  to  its  post  and  took  its  stand  for  centuries.  It  is 
well  that  there  is  order  and  discipline  and  even  the  pain  of 
death  for  their  sake,  because  the  divine  man  is  not  stopped  by 
the  latter,  in  that  he  bears  eternal  life,  and  the  sense  thereof  in 
his  own  bosom. 

Thou  whose  "  Lectures  and  Miscellanies"  do  fill  my  mind 
with  a  certain  sense  of  roundness,  finish,  and  courtly  present- 

ableness,  I  pray  thee,  in  the  fervor  of  thy  faith,  to  read  them  in 

a  German  beerhouse,  and  amid  throngs  of  low-browed  and  big- 
jawed  Hibernians,  stepping  here  on  shore  with  vast  appetite,  a 

Social' Theories.  99 

faith  that  removes  mountains,  and  imperfect,  insufficient  know- 
ledge of  Paley  and  Chesterfield.  There,  in  the  eye  that  lights 
all  that  bone  and  muscle,  shalt  thou  see,  as  in  a  glass,  darkly, 
no  dearth  of  hard  knocks  and  bloody  noses,  standing  in  dread 
array  between  thy  silk  stocking  theory  and  any  practical,  bear- 
able system  of  living  together  based  thereon.  I  do  not  mean 
to  deny  that  thou  hast  found  a  sibylline  leaf  and  deciphered  it 
well,  but  there  were  other  sibylline  leaves,  which  were  burned 
before  pride  took  the  alarm,  and  the  secret  of  making  men 
learn  lovingly — was  in  those  that  were  burned  ! 

Humbly  do  I  recognise  in  thy  hand  the  divine  hammer  that 
fashions  me,  as  with  resolute  grip  thou  holdest  me  upon  the 
anvil  ;  but  the  anvil  below  strikes  as  hard  as  thou  above,  and  is 
steadier,  for  it  stands  on  that  which  talk  cannot  reach.  jSTot 
from  Pliny's  Page  or  Buffon's  elaborations  did  man  learn  the 
mystery  of  tiger's  tooth  or  fangs  of  deadly  rattlesnake.  The 
nio-htshade  "  never  told  her  love"  to  the  eve :  'twas  in  the 
writhing  stomach  of  experiment  that  she  talked  the  true,  Catho- 
lic tongue,  English  to  Englishmen,  French  to  Frenchmen,  and 
they  who  saw  believed. 

Well  do  I  know  that  God's  truth  is  a  two-edged  sword,  even 
such  of  it  as  man  may  wield ;  but  it  is  a  sword  whose  handle 
burns  as  fiercely  as  its  edge  doth  cut,  and  knowing  men  pass  it 
more  quickly  than  the  bottle. 

Let  us  make,  then,  a  grand  experiment,  let  us  unite  as  one 
man  from  Maine  to  Georgia,  we  who  have  read  and  have  seen, 
and  let  us  seek  to  change  the  Anglo-Saxon  hat,  or  wrench  one 

100  Social    Theories. 

button  from  the  empire  of  Brummagem  fashion  and  trans- 
atlantic dictation,  let  us  see  " quid valeant  quid recusent humeri" 
let  us  test  our  influence  with  the  masses,  by  a  garb  made 
according  to  the  demonstrable  requirement  of  climate  and  con- 
venience. Verily,  I  say  to  thee,  that  Wall  street  will  greet  us 
with  a  guffaw,  the  maids  will  titter  at  us  through  the  blinds, 
the  rowdies  will  hustle  us  in  the  thoroughfare,  and  even  the 
good  quiet  man  will  see  these  things  through  the  plate  glass  of 
his  chariot,  and  say  debaxo  de  su  manto. — "  Served  them  right." 
While  thou  warmest  in  the  promise  of  order,  quiet,  content, 
and  cheerful  toil,  lo  !  the  Catholic  priest  hath  already  occupied 
their  hearts  with  the  "  promise  to  pay,"  whose  Biddle  has  yet 
to  find  his  Andrew,  and  whose  god-like  defenders  and  consti- 
tutional expounders  mean  to  fight  for  it  at  last,  and  not  "obso- 
lete" it.  Not  by  rushing  madly  at  the  differential  calculus,  or 
wielding  algebraic  signs  or  logarithmic  compend,  is  the  traffic 
of  the  world  done,  because  then  there  would  be  too  hard  a  pres- 
sure of  Sir  Isaac  Newtons,  and  Lacroix  would  lose  his  balance ; 
Cocker  alone  will  carry  you  to  millions,  and  then  you  may 
maintain  those  that  teach  the  higher  law  of  calculation — and 
make  trouble  therewith. 

Let  us  seek  rather  the  kino-dom  of  God  and  his  righteous- 
ness,  and  all  these  things  shall  be  added  unto  us  ;  let  us  throw 
off  our  coats,  and  leaving  the  question  of  the  Trinity  an  open 
one,  teach  the  poor  and  the  lowly  that  cleanliness  is  next  to 
godliness ;  let  us  try  to  save  and  cleanse  what  of  womanhood 
is  left  in  "  poor  and  common,"  and  seek  out  little  wrongs 

Social    Theories.  101 

as  a  hidden  treasure,  that  we  may  put  a  little  right  in  their 
places ;  let  us  frown  down  waste,  for  God  has  only  made 
enough  of  each  thing ;  let  us  honor  toil,  for  toil  is  the  sun- 
shine's brother  ;  let  us  seek  the  heart  of  man,  for  there  is  eter- 
nal life,  and  not  ask  too  much  of  his  head,  for  that  fruit  is  not 
yet  ripe. 

I  cannot  as  yet  adopt  thy  broad  humanity — I  will  put  up 
with  less  breadth,  much  less — only  give  me  more  depth  there- 
with. I  love  the  concrete,  my  brother,  and  I  can  look  Sir 
Isaac  Newton  in  the  eye  without  flinching ;  I  kneel  to  William 
Shakspeare,  who  guessed  to  a  drop  how  much  oil  goes  to  a 
Lombard's  salad. 

Give  me  the  man  who,  seated  in  that  fog  bank  betwixt  the 
North  Sea  and  the  Irish  Channel,  held  horses  at  the  play-house 
and  found  it  in  his  head  to  teach  kings  how  to  wear  a  crown ! 
the  man  who,  living  amid  theatre  wenches  and  pot-house  degra- 
dation, found  it  in  his  heart  to  paint  the  purple  dawn  of  virgin 
womanhood  in  the  far  awav  south,  and  made  a  Moor  to  burn 
with  more  than  Afric's  passion.  That's  the  mind  that  I  will 
follow,  not  only  because  he  is  genial,  warm,  and  real,  not  only 
because  he  is  substantial,  hath  avoirdupois,  a  perfume,  and  a 
taste,  but  because  he  is  multiform,  elastic,  not  procrustean,  not 
monomaniacal.  I  hate  thy  straight  lines,  and  thy  arrangements 
for  the  elbows,  and  thy  lid  that  fits  over  all,  with  the  screws 
ready  in  thy  hand.  I  will  none  of  it.  If  thou  insist,  fun  shall 
come  of  it,  but  it  shall  be  of  that  fun  which  all  men  make  who 
forget  that  it  takes  two  to  conclude  a  bargain. 

102  Social    Theories. 

The  measure  which  thou  hast  scientifically  taken  of  me  is 
my  measure  now,  perhaps !  but  now  I  am  young,  dormant,  not 
come  to  my  full  height  or  my  adult  strength.  I  feel  that  I 
am  destined  to  outgrow  thy  feet  and  inches  hereafter ;  whole 
degrees  of  latitude  shall  I  require  for  my  morning  walk — what 
do  I  say  ?  I  will  spurn  the  great  globe  itself,  and  the  solar 
system  shall  hold  me  in  base  "  circumscription  and  confine." 
The  utmost  measure  of  thy  extended  arms,  my  brother,  is  thy 
own  measure,  not  mine,  still  less  that  of  collective  manhood.  If 
thou  be  truly  great,  then  shalt  thou  add  one  grain  of  sand  to 
the  ant-hill,  and  that  shall  suffice  thee,  as  it  hath  sufficed  thy 
brother  insect  however  great,  until  now ! 

Remember  how  Mahomet  learned  that  he  was  sent  of  God, 
even  by  making  two  or  three  dunderheads  take  him  at  that 
rate.  This  is  the  mountain  that  the  fate  of  all  prophets  must 
begin  by  removing.  Ever  so  little  a  spark  of  this,  even  as  a 
grain  of  mustard  seed,  will  answer  for  a  beginning,  and  then 
comes  by  degrees  a  flame  that  covers  a  large  portion  of  Asia, 
Africa,  and  Europe,  with  turbans,  circumcision,  and  slaughter. 

I  object  to  these  transcendental  theories  of  life,  because  of 
their  genesis.  I  object  to  them,  because  of  the  experience  of 
them  that  hath  been  made.  I  object  to  them,  more  than  all, 
because  they  threaten  to  pare  down  and  clip  the  tendrils  by 
which  I  cling  to  the  concrete. 

They  are,  one  and  all,  the  offspring  of  negative  propositions, 
and  are  imaginary  eliminations  of  existing  evils,  and  what 
men  regard  as  such.     Fourier's  disgust  at  French  corruption, 

Social    Theories.  103 

passion,  and  discord,  was  a  good  motive  for  his  going  to  Eng- 
land, or  Switzerland,  or  America.  He  might  have  found  his 
quietus  in  the  concrete.  This  disgust  was  no  generative  power 
to  create  a  new  civilization,  because  generation  is  not  effected 
through  disgust,  never  was,  and  never  will  be.  It  is  the 
crystallization  of  love  and  worship  in  the  average  mind  that 
foundeth  new  systems,  dissatisfaction  operates  with  the  torch, 
the  mine,  and  the  guillotine,  it  ploughs,  harrows  and  prepares 
the  ground,  love  seeds  it.     Love,  and  Hope,  and  Faith. 

Dost  thou  speak  to  me  of  the  large  promise  of  these  people, 
of  quiet,  and  joy,  and  universal  satisfaction,  and  offer  this  as  a 
proof  of  love  ?  I  cannot  accept  it  as  such.  They  offer  it  to 
man  on  the  condition  of  his  beins:  no  more  what  he  hath  ever 
been — a  belligerent.  They  ask  him  to  lay  down  his  fangs  and 
claws,  and  taking  him  into  the  high  mountain  of  their  theory, 
promise  him  the  kingdom  of  the  world.     Retro  Satanas  ! 

I  shall  not  enter  into  any  contract  to  wash  my  Ethiopian 
.  skin  or  eradicate  my  leopard's  spots.     I  shall  seek  to  be  clean 
and  to  make  my  neighbor  clean,  but  if  he  will  not  be  clean, 
"  let  him  be  filthy  still." 

The  experience  that  hath  been  made  of  ultra  doctrines  does 
not  charm  my  mind.  I  like  not  to  contemplate  the  rites  of 
Buddha,  or  the  Thebaid,  or  the  monomania  of  La  Trappe. 
Even  Quakerism  leaves  a  burning  spot  of  my  heart  unwatered  ; 
this,  thou  of  the  Society  of  Friends,  this  thou  sayest  is  a  proof 
of  my  corrupt  nature.  Let  us  pray  ! 
«   We  are  all  convinced  of  our  own  unworthiness,  monsters  of 

104  Social    Theories. 

guilt  are  we,  but  yet  have  we  a  clear  perception  of  tlie  right, 
we  think.  Did  God,  then,  make  our  conscience,  and  the  devil 
make  our  wills  ?  If  so,  we  are  held  by  a  double  ownership, 
and  must  abide  the  consequence. 

We  are  conscious  that  there  is  an  up  and  a  down  in  space, 
but  if  we  analyse  this  idea  we  shall  find  that  "  down"  is  but 
another  name  for  that  which  is  in  the  direction  of  gravitation ; 
"  up,"  that  which  is  against  gravitation.  To  the  Infinite  Mind 
in  infinite  space  can  there  be  neither  up  nor  down,  I  think. 
In  the  moral  world  self  is  the  centre  of  gravitation,  what  tends 
uniquely  thither  we  call  selfish — down  ;  what  tends  against 
that — generous — up.  Now  the  highest  flight  of  eagle  vitality 
must  tire,  for  the  gravitation  is  perennial,  the  vitality  limited, 
brief,  feeble.  We  build  our  church  up  into  the  sky  against  the 
gravitation,  but  'tis  only  the  downward  tendency  that  holds  it 
fast.  This  is  true  materially,  and  it  is  true  morally,  for  there 
are  not  two  Gods,  but  one  God,  I  believe  !  Therefore  do  civili- 
zations begin  with  heroism,  self-sacrifice,  and  love  !  These,  like 
the  fusee  of  the  rocket,  conquer  the  suction  of  earth,  and  the 
stick  soars.  The  fusee  lessens  by  combustion,  the  stick  remains 
ever  of  the  original  avoirdupois.  The  stick  goes  up  with  so 
many  ounces  of  unwillingness,  and  by  degrees  there  comes  a 
balance  of  power — momentary ;  for  the  downward  will  gets  the 
better  of  the  fire,  and  the  stick  comes  home.  The  first  Chris- 
tians were  crucified  with  their  heads  downwards ;  the  later 
Christians  hold  largely  in  the  funds,  and  seek  Rothschild's 
countenance.     This  suction  self-ward  is  so  inherent  and  inevi- 

Social    T  ii  e  o  k  i  e  s  .  105 

table,  that  the  sacrifice  of  self  hath  ever,  until  now,  been  bought 
— for  a  consideration — which,  to  my  mind,  seems  not  unlike 
going  in  at  the  same  hole  at  which  we  came  out — sailing 
westward  until  we  find  ourselves  in  the  orient. 

For  these  reasons  do  I  mistrust  the  theorist.  Nine  times  in 
ten  hath  he  no  wholesome,  working,  organic  relation  with 
God's  around  or  with  his  fellow-men.  Nine  times  in  ten  is  his 
position  in  life  exceptional  and  not  normal.  Nine  times  in  ten 
doth  he  sit  perched  upon  an  income  which  is  a  dead  branch  of 
the  living  tree  of  industry,  and  with  his  belly  distended  by  the 
east  wind,  and  his  heart  sour  with  the  ambition  that  hath  struck 
inward,  doth  he  spout  generalities  more  or  less  outside  of  the 
real  needs  of  to-day.  He  hath  said  in  his  heart,  that  God's 
world,  till  now,  hath  been  but  rough  draft  on  slate,  and  saith 
that  he  hath  a  sponge.  Not  so,  brother!  This  is  a  fight; 
come  down,  and  take  thy  side,  and  do  battle  for  the  most  right 
of  the  two  combatants.  Thy  "virtue"  is  an  elevation  on 
paper ;  to  build  it  on  the  ground,  we  must  have  "  cakes 
and  ale." 

Lock  up  thy  head,  which  would  fain  teach  us  that  one  man 
is  more  than  all  men  ;  open  thy  heart,  where  there  be  treasures 
yet  untold  ;  let  thy  hand  do  with  its  might  whatever  it  findeth 
to  do,  not  because  of  perfection,  which  is  out  of  reach,  but 
because  idleness  is  the  root  of  much  evil. 

When,  in  the  plenitude  of  thy  ingenuity,  thou  canst  fashion 
a  stick  with  only  one  end,  a  solid  body  with  only  one  side,  a 


1 OG  Social    Theories. 

magnet  with  only  one  pole,  a  light  not  dogged  by  sha- 
dow, a  harmony  with  only  one  part,  a  marriage  with  only 
a  bridegroom,  then  wilt  thou  be  prepared  to  begin  thy 


The  susceptibility,  the  tastes,  and  the  genius  which  enable  a 
people  to  enjoy  the  Fine  Arts,  and  to  excel  in  them,  have  been 
denied  to  the  Anglo- Americans,  not  only  by  European  talkers, 
but  by  European  thinkers.  The  assertion  of  our  obtuseness  and 
inefficiency  in  this  respect,  has  been  ignorantly  and  presumptu- 
ously set  forth  by  some  persons,  merely  to  fill  up  the  measure 
of  our  condemnation.  Others  have  arrived  at  the  same  con- 
clusion, after  examining  our  political  and  social  character,  after 
investigating  our  exploits,  and  testing  our  capacities.  They 
admit  that  we  trade  with  enterprise  and  skill ;  that  we  build 
ships  cunningly,  and  sail  them  well ;  that  we  have  a  quick  and 
far-sighted  apprehension  of  the  value  of  a  territory ;  that  we 
make  wholesome  homespun  laws  for  its  government,  and  that 
we  fight  hard  when  molested  in  any  of  these  homely  exercises 
of  our  ability ;  but  they  assert  that  there  is  a  stubborn,  anti- 
poetical  tendency  in  all  that  we  do,  or  say,  or  think;  they 
attribute  our  very  excellence,  in  the  ordinary  business  of  life,  to 
causes  which  must  prevent  our  development  as  artists. 

Enjoying  the  accumulated  result  of  the  thought  and  labor  of 
centuries,  Europe  has  witnessed  our  struggles  with  the  hard- 

108  American    Art. 

ships  of  an  untamed  continent,  and  the  disadvantages  of  colo- 
nial relations,  with  but  a  partial  appreciation  of  what  we  aim 
at,  with  but  an  imperfect  knowledge  of  what  we  have  done. 
Seeing  us  intently  occupied,  during  several  generations,  in  felling 
forests,  in  building  towns,  and  constructing  roads,  she  thence 
formed  a  theory  that  we  are  good  for  nothing  except  these  pio- 
neer efforts.  She  taunted  us,  because  there  were  no  statues  or 
frescoes  in  our  log-cabins ;  she  pronounced  us  unmusical, 
because  we  did  not  sit  dowrn  in  the  swamp,  with  an  Indian  on 
one  side  and  a  rattlesnake  on  the  other,  to  play  the  violin. 
That  she  should  triumph  over  the  deficiencies  of  a  people  who 
had  set  the  example  of  revolt  and  republicanism,  was  natural ; 
but  the  reason  which  she  assigned  for  those  deficiencies  was  not 
the  true  reason.  She  argued  with  the  depth  and  the  sagacity 
of  a  philosopher  who  should  conclude,  from  seeing  an  infant 
imbibe  with  eagerness  its  first  aliment,  that  its  whole  life  would 
be  occupied  in  similar  absorption. 

Sir  Walter  Scott,  rank  tory  as  he  was,  showed  more  good 
sense,  when,  in  recommending  an  American  book  to  Miss  Edge- 
worth,  he  accounted  for  such  a  phenomenon,  by  saying,  "  that 
people  once  possessed  of  a  three-legged  stool,  soon  contrive  to 
make  an  easy-chair."  Humble  as  the  phrase  is,  we  here  per- 
ceive an  expectation  on  his  part,  that  the  energies  now  exer- 
cised in  laying  the  foundations  of  a  mighty  empire,  would,  in 
due  time,  rear  the  stately  columns  of  civilization,  and  crown  the 
edifice  with  the  entablature  of  letters  and  of  arts.  Kemember- 
ing  that  one  leg  of  the  American  stool  was  planted  in  Maine,  a 

American    Art.  109 

second  in  Florida,  and  the  third  at  the  base  of  the  Rocky 
Mountains,  he  could  scarce  expect  that  the  chair  would  become 
an  easy  one  in  a  half-century. 

It  is  true,  that  before  the  Declaration  of  Independence, 
Copley  had  in  Boston  formed  a  style  of  portrait  which  filled  Sir 
Joshua  Reynolds  with  astonishment ;  and  that  West,  breaking 
through  the  bar  of  Quaker  prohibition,  and  conquering  the  pre- 
judice against  a  provincial  aspirant,  had  taken  a  high  rank  in 
the  highest  walk  of  art  in  London.  Stuart,  Trumbull,  Allston, 
Morse,  Leslie,  and  Newton,  followed  in  quick  succession,  while 
Vanderlyn  won  golden  opinions  at  Rome,  and  bore  away  high 
honors  at  Paris.  So  far  were  the  citizens  of  the  Republic  from 
showing  a  want  of  capacity  for  art,  that  we  may  safely  affirm 
the  bent  of  their  genius  was  rather  peculiarly  in  that  direc- 
tion, since  the  first  burins  of  Europe  were  employed  in  the  ser- 
vice of  the  American  pencil,  before  Irving  had  written,  and 
while  Cooper  was  yet  a  child.  That  England,  with  these  facts 
before  her,  should  have  accused  us  of  obtuseness  in  regard  to 
art,  and  that  we  should  have  pleaded  guilty  to  the  charge,  fur- 
nishes the  strongest  proof  of  her  disposition  to  underrate  our 
intellectual  powers,  and  of  our  own  ultra  docility  and  want  of 

Not  many  years  since,  one  of  the  illustrious  and  good  men 
of  America  exclaimed,  in  addressing  the  nation  : 

"Excudent  alii  mollius  spirantia  tera, 
Credo  ecruidern  ;  vivos  ducent  de  niarmore  vultusl" 

110  American    Art. 

Since  that  period,  art  has  received  a  new  impulse  among  us. 
Artists  have  arisen  in  numbers ;  the  public  gives  its  attention 
to  their  productions ;  their  labors  are  liberally  rewarded.  It 
seems  now  admitted  that  wealth  and  cultivation  are  destined  to 
yield,  in  America,  the  same  fruits  that  they  have  given  in  Italy, 
in  Spain,  in  France,  Germany,  and  England.  It  seems  now 
admitted  that  there  is  no  anomalous  defect  in  our  mental 
endowments ;  that  the  same  powers  displayed  in  clearing  the 
forest,  and  tilling  the  farm,  will  trim  the  garden.  It  seems  clear 
that  we  are  destined  to  have  a  school  of  art.  It  becomes  a 
matter  of  importance  to  decide  how  the  youth  who  devote 
themselves  to  these  studies  are  to  acquire  the  rudiments  of  imi- 
tation, and  what  influences  are  to  be  made  to  act  upon  them. 
This  question  seemed,  at  one  time,  to  have  been  decided.  The 
friends  of  art  in  America  looked  to  Europe  for  an  example  ;  and 
with  the  natural  assumption  that  experience  had  made  the  old 
world  wise,  in  what  relates  to  the  fine  arts,  determined  upon 
forming  Academies,  as  the  more  refined  nations  of  the  continent 
have  ended  by  doing.  We  might  as  well  have  proposed  a 
national  church  establishment.  That  the  youth  must  be  taught 
is  clear — but  in  framing  an  institution  for  that  object,  if  we  look 
to  countries  grown  old  in  European  systems,  it  must  be  for 
warning  rather  than  for  example.  We  speak  from  long  experi- 
ence and  much  observation  of  European  Academies.  We  enter- 
tain the  highest  respect  for  the  professional  ability  and  for  the 
personal  character  of  the  gentlemen  who  preside  over  those 
institutions.     Nay,  it  is  our  conviction  of  their  capacity  and  of 

American    Art.  Ill 

their  individual  willingness  to  impart  knowledge,  which  forces 
upon  us  the  opinion  of  the  rottenness  of  the  systems  of  which 
they  are  the  instruments. 

De  Tocqueville  remarks  upon  the  British  aristocracy,  that, 
notwithstanding  their  sagacity  as  a  body,  and  their  integrity 
and  high-toned  character  as  individuals,  they  have  gradually 
absorbed  everything,  and  left  the  people  nothing;  while  he 
declares  the  American  employes,  though  they  are  sometimes 
defaulters  and  dishonest,  yet,  after  all,  get  little  beyond  their 
dues,  and  are  obliged  to  sacrifice  both  reputation  and  self- 
respect  in  order  to  obtain  that  little.  Those  who  direct  the 
Academies  of  Fine  Arts  in  Europe,  are  prone  to  take  an  advan- 
tage of  their  position  analogous  to  that  enjoyed  by  the  afore- 
said aristocracy.  As  the  latter  come  to  regard  the  mass  as  a 
flock  to  be  fed,  and  defended,  and  cherished,  for  the  sake  of 
their  wool  and  mutton,  so  the  former  are  not  slow  to  make  a 
band  of  educandi  the  basis  of  a  hierarchy.  Systems  and 
manner  soon  usurp  the  place  of  sound  precept.  Faith  is 
insisted  on  rather  than  works.  The  pupils  are  required  to  be 
not  only  docile  but  submissive.     They  are  not  free. 

To  minds  once  opened  to  the  light  of  knowledge,  an  adept 
may  speak  in  masses,  and  the  seed  will  fall  on  good  ground  ; 
bnt  to  awaken  a  dormant  soul,  to  impart  first  principles,  to 
watch  the  budding  of  the  germ  of  rare  talent,  requires  a  contact 
and  relations  such  as  no  professor  can  have  with  a  class,  such 
as  few  men  can  have  with  any  boy.  If  Europe  must  furnish  a 
model  of  artistical  tuition,  let  us  go  at  once  to  the  records  of 

112  American    Art. 

the  great  age  of  art  in  Italy,  and  we  shall  there  learn  that 
Michael  Angelo  and  Raphael,  and  their  teachers  also,  were 
formed  without  any  of  the  cumbrous  machinery  and  mill-horse 
discipline  of  a  modern  Academy.     They  were  instructed,  it  is 
true ;  they  were  apprenticed  to  painters.     Instead  of  passively 
listening  to  an  experienced  proficient  merely,  they  discussed 
with  their  fellow  students  the  merits  of  different  works,  the 
advantages  of  rival  methods,  the  choice  between  contradictory 
authorities.     They   formed   one   another.     Sympathy  warmed 
them,  opposition  strengthened,  and  emulation  spurred  them  on. 
In  these  latter  days,  classes  of  boys  toil  through  the  rudiments 
under  the  eye  of  men  who  are  themselves  aspirants  for  the 
public  favor,  and  who,  deriving  no  benefit,  as  masters  from 
their  apprentices,  from  the  proficiency  of  the  lads,  look  upon 
every  clever  graduate  as  a  stumbling-block  in  their  own  way. 
Hence  their  system  of  stupefying  discipline,  their  tying  down 
the  pupil  to  mere  manual  execution,  their  silence  in  regard  to 
principles,  their  cold  reception  of  all  attempts  to  invent.     To 
chill  in  others  the  effort  to  acquire,  is  in  them  the  instinctive 
action  of  a  wish  to  retain.     Well  do  we  remember  the  expres- 
sion of  face  and  the  tone  of  voice  with  which  one  of  these 
bashaws  of  an  European  Academy  once  received  our  praise  of 
the  labors  of  a  man  grown  grey  in  the  practice  of  his  art,  but 
who,  though  his  works  were  known  and  admired  at  Naples  and 
St.  Petersburg!],  at  London  and  Vienna,  had  not  yet  won  from 
the  powers  that  were    his  exequatur — "  Yes,  sir,  yes !   clever 
boy,  sir !  promises  well  /" 

American    Art.  113 

The  president  and  the  professors  of  an  Academy  are  regarded 
by  the  public  as,  of  course,  at  the  head  of  their  respective  pro- 
fessions. Their  works  are  models,  their  opinions  give  the  law. 
The  youth  are  awed  and  dazzled  by  their  titles  and  their  fame  ; 
the  man  of  genius  finds  them  arrayed  in  solid  phalanx  to  com- 
bat his  claim.  In  those  countries  where  a  court  bestows  all 
encouragement,  it  is  found  easy  to  keep  from  those  in  power 
all  knowledge  of  a  dangerous  upstart  talent.  How  far  this 
mischievous  influence  can  be  carried,  may  be  gathered  from  the 
position  in  which  Sir  Joshua  Reynolds  and  his  court  managed 
to  keep  men  like  Wilson  and  Gainsborough.  He  who  sees  the 
productions  of  these  men  in  company  with  those  of  their  con- 
temporaries, and  who  remembers  the  impression  which  Sir 
Joshua's  writings  had  conveyed  of  their  standing  as  artists,  will 
perceive  with  surprise  that  they  were  not  the  victims  of  any 
overt  act  of  misrepresentation,  but  that  they  were  quietly  and 
gently  praised  out  of  the  rank  due  to  them  into  an  inferior  one, 
by  a  union  of  real  talent,  constituted  influence,  and  a  sly,  cool, 
consistent  management. 

Many  of  the  ablest  painters  and  sculptors  of  Europe  have 
expressed  to  us,  directly  and  frankly,  the  opinion  that  Academies, 
furnished  though  they  be  with  all  the  means  to  form  the  eye, 
the  hand,  and  the  mind  of  the  pupil,  are  positively  hindrances 
instead  of  helps  to  art. 

The  great  element  of  execution,  whether  in  painting  or  in 

sculpture,  is  imitation.     This  is  the  language  of  art.     Almost 

all  clever  boys  can  learn  this  to  a  degree  far  beyond  what  is 


114  American    Art. 

supposed.  That  objects  should  be  placed  before  tliern  calculated 
to  attract  their  attention,  and  teach  them  the  rules  of  propor- 
tion, while  they  educate  the  eye  to  form  and  color,  no  one  will 
dispute;  but  the  insisting  upon  a  routine,  the  depriving  them 
of  all  choice  or  volition,  the  giving  a  false  preference  to  readi- 
ness of  hand  over  power  of  thought,  all  these  are  great  evils, 
and  we  fully  believe  that  they  fall  with  a  withering  force  on 
those  minds  especially  whose  nourishment  and  guidance  they 
were  intended  to  secure — we  mean  on  those  minds  which  are 
filled  with  a  strong  yearning  after  excellence,  warm  sympa- 
thies, quick,  delicate,  and  nice  perceptions,  strong  will,  and  a 
j3roud  consciousness  of  creative  power  of  mind,  joined  to  diffi- 
dence of  their  capacity  to  bring  into  action  the  energies  they 
feel  within  them.  The  paltry  prizes  offered  for  the  best  per- 
formances seldom  rouse  men  of  this  order ;  they  may  create  in 
such  souls  an  unamiable  contempt  for  their  unsuccessful  com- 
petitors ;  they  may  give  to  successful  mediocrity,  inflated  hopes, 
and  a  false  estimate  of  its  own  powers.  As  a  substantial  help 
they  are  worthless  even  to  the  tyro  who  wins  them. 

Leonardo  da  Vinci  coiled  a  rope  in  his  studio,  and  drew  from 
it,  with  the  subtlest  outline,  and  the  most  elaborate  study  of 
light  and  shade.  "  Behold  !"  said  he,  "  my  academy !"  He 
meant  to  show  that  the  elements  of  art  can  be  learned  without 
the  pompous  array  of  the  antique  school,  or  the  lectures  of  the 
professor.  Few  will  be  tempted  to  follow  his  example;  but 
even  that  were  far  better  than  a  routine  of  instruction  which, 
after  years  of  drudgery  and  labor,  sends  forth  the  genius  and 

American    Art.  115 

the  blockhead  so  nearly  on  a  level  with  each  other,  the  one 
manacled  with  precepts,  the  other  armed  with  them  at  all 

The  above  reflections  have  been  drawn  from  us  by  the  oft- 
repeated  expression  of  regret  which  we  have  listened  to,  "  that 
from  the  constitution  of  our  society,  and  the  nature  of  our 
institutions,  no  influences  can  be  brought  to  bear  upon  art  with 
the  vivifying  power  of  court  patronage."     We  fully  and  firmly 
believe  that  these  institutions  are  more  favorable  to  a  natural, 
healthful  growth  of  art  than  any  hot-bed  culture  whatever. 
We  cannot — (as  did    Napoleon) — make,  by   a  few  imperial 
edicts,  an  army  of  battle  painters,  a  hierarchy  of  drum-arid-fife 
glorifiers.     Nor  can  we,  in  the  life-time  of  an  individual,  so 
stimulate  this  branch  of  culture,  so  unduly  and  disproportion- 
ately endow  it,  as  to  make  a  Walhalla  start  from  a  republican 
soil.     The  monuments,  the  pictures,  the  statues  of  the  republic 
will  represent  what  the  people  love  and  wish  for, — not  what 
they  can  be  made  to  accept,  not  how  much  taxation  they  will 
bear.     We  hope,  by  such  slow  growth,  to  avoid  the  reaction 
resulting  from  a  morbid  development;    a  reaction  like  that 
which  attended  the  building  of  St.  Peter's ;  a  reaction  like  that 
consequent  upon  the    outlay  which  gave  birth  to  the  royal 
mushroom  at  Versailles ;  a  reaction  like  that  which  we  antici- 
pate in  Bavaria,  unless  the  people  of  that  country  are  consti- 
tuted differently  from  the  rest  of  mankind. 

If  there  be  any  youth  toiling  through  the  rudiments  of  art, 
at  the  forms  of  the  simple  and  efficient  school  at  New  York 

116  American    Art. 

(whose  title  is  the  only  pompons  thing  about  it),  with  a  chilling 
belief  that,  elsewhere,  the  difficulties  he  struggles  with  are 
removed  or  modified,  we  call  upon  him  to  be  of  good  cheer, 
and  to  believe — what  from  our  hearts  we  are  convinced  of — 
that  there  is  at  present  no  country  where  the  development  and 
growth  of  an  artist  is  more  free,  healthful,  and  happy  than  it  is 
in  these  United  States.  It  is  not  until  the  tyro  becomes  a  pro- 
ficient— nay,  an  adept — that  his  fortitude  and  his  temper  are 
put  to  tests  more  severe  than  elsewhere — tests  of  which  we  pro- 
pose to  speak  more  at  large  on  a  future  occasion. 


We  have  heard  the  learned  in  matters  relating  to  art,  ex- 
press the  opinion  that  these  United  States  are  destined  to  form 
a  new  style  of  architecture.  Remembering  that  a  vast  popu- 
lation, rich  in  material  and  guided  by  the  experience,  the  pre- 
cepts, and  the  models  of  the  old  world,  was  about  to  erect 
durable  structures  for  every  function  of  civilized  life,  we  also 
cherished  the  hope  that  such  a  combination  would  speedily  be 

We  forgot  that  though  the  country  was  young,  yet  the 
people  were  old,  that  as  Americans  we  have  no  childhood,  no 
half-fabulous,  legendary  wealth,  no  misty,  cloud-enveloped 
back-ground.  We  forgot  that  we  had  not  unity  of  religious 
belief,  nor  unity  of  origin ;  that  our  territory,  extending  from 
the  white  bear  to  the  alligator,  made  our  occupations  dissimi- 
lar, our  character  and  tastes  various.  We  forgot  that  the  Re- 
public had  leaped  full-grown  and  armed  to  the  teeth  from  the 
brain  of  her  parent,  and  that  a  hammer  had  been  the  instru- 
ment of  delivery.  We  forgot  that  reason  had  been  the  dry 
nurse  of  the  giant  offspring,  and  had  fed  her  from  the  begin- 
ning with  the  strong  bread  and  meat  of  fact ;  that  every  wry 

118  American    Architecture. 

face  the  bantling  ever  made  had  been  daguerreotyped,  and  all 
her  words  and  deeds  printed  and  labelled  away  in  the  pigeon- 
holes of  official  bureaux. 

Reason  can  dissect,  but  cannot  originate ;  she  can  adopt, 
but  cannot  create ;  she  can  modify,  but  cannot  find.  Give  her 
but  a  cock-boat,  and  she  will  elaborate  a  line-of-battle  ship ; 
give  her  but  a  beam,  with  its  wooden  tooth,  and  she  turns 
out  the  patent  plough.  She  is  not  young  ;  and  when  her  friends 
insist  upon  the  phenomena  of  youth,  then  is  she  least  attractive. 
She  can  imitate  the  flush  of  the  young  cheek,  but  where  is  the 
flash  of  the  young  eye  ?  She  buys  the  teeth — alas !  she 
cannot  buy  the  breath  of  childhood.  The  puny  cathedral 
of  Broadway,  like  an  elephant  dwindled  to  the  size  of  a  dog, 
measures  her  yearning  for  Gothic  sublimity,  while  the  roar  of 
the  Astor-house,  and  the  mammoth  vase  of  the  great  reservoir, 
show  how  she  works  when  she  feels  at  home,  and  is  in  earnest. 

The  mind  of  this  country  has  never  been  seriously  applied 
to  the  subject  of  building.  Intently  engaged  in  matters  of 
more  pressing  importance,  we  have  been  content  to  receive 
our  notions  of  architecture  as  we  have  received  the  fashion  of 
our  garments,  and  the  form  of  our  entertainments,  from 
Europe.  In  our  eagerness  to  appropriate,  we  have  neglected 
to  adapt,  to  distinguish, — nay,  to  understand.  We  have 
built  small  Gothic  temples  of  wood,  and  have  omitted  all 
ornaments  for  economy,  unmindful  that  size,  material,  and 
ornament  are  the  elements  of  effect  in  that  style  of  building. 
Captivated  by  the  classic  symmetry   of  the  Athenian  models 

American    Architecture.  119 

we  have  sought  to  bring  the  Parthenon  into  our  streets,  to 
make  the  temple  of  Theseus  work  in  our  towns.  We  have 
shorn  them  of  their  lateral  colonnades,  let  them  down  from 
their  dignified  platform,  pierced  their  walls  for  light,  and,  in- 
stead of  the  storied  relief  and  the  eloquent  statue  which 
enriched  the  frieze,  and  graced  the  pediment,  we  have  made 
our  chimney  tops  to  peer  over  the  broken  profile,  and  tell,  by 
their  rising  smoke,  of  the  traffic  and  desecration  of  the  in- 
terior. Still  the  model  may  be  recognised,  some  of  the 
architectural  features  are  entire ;  like  the  captive  king,  stripped 
alike  of  arms  and  purple,  and  drudging  amid  the  Helots  of  a 
capital,  the  Greek  temple,  as  seen  among  us,  claims  pity  for 
its  degraded  majesty,  and  attests  the  barbarian  force  which 
has  abused  its  nature,  and  been  blind  to  its  qualities. 

If  we  trace  Architecture  from  its  perfection,  in  the  days  of 
Pericles,  to  its  manifest  decay  in  the  reign  of  Constantine,  we 
shall  find  that  one  of  the  surest  symptoms  of  decline  was  the 
adoption  of  admired  forms  and  models  for  purposes  not  con- 
templated in  their  invention.  The  forum  became  a  temple  ; 
the  tribunal  became  a  temple ;  the  theatre  was  turned  into  a 
church ;  nay,  the  column,  that  organized  member,  that  sub- 
ordinate part,  set  up  for  itself,  usurped  unity,  and  was  a 
monument !  The  great  principles  of  Architecture  being  once 
abandoned,  correctness  gave  way  to  novelty,  economy  and 
vain-glory  associated  produced  meanness  and  pretension. 
Sculpture,  too,  had  waned.  The  degenerate  workmen  could 
no  longer  match   the  fragments  they  sought  to  mingle,  nor 

120  American    Architecture. 

copy  the  originals  they  only  hoped  to  repeat.  The  mouldering 
remains  of  better  days  frowned  contempt  upon  such  impotent 
efforts,  till,  in  the  gradual  coming  of  darkness,  ignorance  be- 
came contempt,  and  insensibility  ceased  to  compare. 

We  say  that   the  mind   of  this  country  has   never   been 
seriously  applied  to  architecture.     True  it  is,  that  the  com- 
monwealth, with  that  desire  of  public  magnificence  which  has 
ever  been  a  leading  feature  of  democracy,  has  called  from  the 
vasty  deep  of  the  past  the  spirits  of  the  Greek,  the  Roman, 
and  the  Gothic  styles ;  but  they  would  not  come  when  she 
did  call  to  them  !     The  vast  cathedral,  with  its  ever  open  por- 
tals, towering  high  above  the  courts  of  kings,  inviting  all  men 
to  its  cool  and  fragrant  twilight,  where  the  voice  of  the  organ 
stirs  the  blood,  and  the  dim-seen  visions  of  saints  and  martyrs 
bleed  and  die  upon  the  canvas  amid  the  echoes  of  hymning 
voices  and  the  clouds  of  frankincense,  this  architectural  embo- 
dying of  the  divine  and  blessed  words,  "  Come  to  me,  ye  who 
labor  and  are  heavy  laden,  and  I  will  give  you  rest !"  demands 
a  sacrifice  of  what  we  hold  dearest.     Its  corner-stone  must  be 
laid  upon  the  right,  to  judge  the  claims  of  the  church.     The 
style  of  Greek  architecture,   as  seen   in   the    Greek  temple, 
demands  the  aid  of  sculpture,  insists  upon  every  feature  of  its 
original  organization,  loses  its  harmony  if  a  note  be  dropped  in 
the  execution,  and  when  so  modified  as  to  serve  for  a  custom- 
house or  a  bank,  departs  from  its  original  beauty  and  propriety 
as  widely  as  the  crippled  gelding  of  a  hackney  coach  differs 
from  the  bounding  and  neighing  wild  horse  of  the  desert. 

American    Architecture.  121 

Even  where,  in  the  fervor  of  our  faith  in  shapes,  we  have 
sternly  adhered  to  the  dictum  of  another  age,  and  have  actu- 
ally succeeded  in  securing  the  entire  exterior  which  echoes  the 
forms  of  Athens,  the  pile  stands  a  stranger  among  us,  and 
receives  a  respect  akin  to  what  we  should  feel  for  a  fellow-citi- 
zen in  the  garb  of  Greece.  It  is  a  make-believe.  It  is  not  the 
real  thing.  We  see  the  marble  capitals  ;  we  trace  the  acanthus 
leaves  of  a  celebrated  model — incredulous;  it  is  not  a  temple. 
The  number  and  variety  of  our  experiments  in  building  show 
the  dissatisfaction  of  the  public  taste  with  what  has  been 
hitherto  achieved  ;  the  expense  at  which  they  have  been  made 
proves  how  strong  is  the  }rearning  after  excellence  ;  the  talents 
and  acquirements  of  the  artists  whose  services  have  been 
engaged  in  them  are  such  as  to  convince  us  that  the  fault  lies 
in  the  system,  not  in  the  men.  Is  it  possible  that  out  of  this 
chaos  order  can  arise,? — that  of  these  conflicting  dialects  and 
jargons  a  language  can  be  born  ?  When  shall  we  have  done 
with  experiments  ?  What  refuge  is  there  from  the  absurdities 
that  have  successively  usurped  the  name  and  functions  of  archi- 
tecture ?  Is  it  not  better  to  go  on  with  consistency  and  uni- 
formity, in  imitation  of  an  admired  model,  than  incur  the  dis- 
grace of  other  failures  ?  In  answering  these  questions  let  us 
remember  with  humility  that  all  salutary  changes  are  the  work 
of  many  and  of  time;  but  let  us  encourage  experiment  at 
the  risk  of  license,  rather  than  submit  to  an  iron  rule  that 
begins  by  sacrificing  reason,  dignity,  and  comfort.  Let  us  con- 
sult nature,  and,  in  the  assurance  that  she  will  disclose  a  mine, 

122  American    Architecture. 

richer  than  was  ever  dreamed  of  by  the  Greeks,  in  art  as  well 
as  in  philosophy.  Let  us  regard  as  ingratitude  to  the  author 
of  nature  the  despondent  idleness  that  sits  down  while  one  want 
is  unprovided  for,  one  worthy  object  unattained. 

If,  as  the  first  step  in  our  search  after  the  great  principles  of 
construction,  we  but  observe  the  skeletons  and  skins  of  animals, 
through  all  the  varieties  of  beast  and  bird,  of  fish  and  insect,  arc 
we  not  as  forcibly  struck  hj  their  variety  as  by  their  beauty  ? 
There  is  no  arbitrary  law  of  proportion,  no  unbending  model  of 
form.     There  is  scarce  a  part  of  the  animal  organization  which 
we  do  not  find  elongated  or  shortened,  increased,  diminished, 
or  suppressed,  as  the  wants  of  the  genus  or  species  dictate,  as 
their  exposure  or  their  work  may  require.     The  neck  of  the 
swan  and  that  of  the  eagle,  however  different  in  character  and 
proportion,  equally  charm  the  eye  and  satisfy  the  reason.     We 
approve  the  length  of  the  same  member  in  grazing  animals,  its 
shortness  in  beasts  of  prey.     The  horse's  shanks  are  thin,  and 
we  admire  them ;  the  greyhound's  chest  is  deep,  and  we  cry, 
beautiful !     It  is  neither  the  presence  nor  the  absence  of  this  or 
that  part,  or  shape,  or  color,   that  wins  our  eye  in  natural 
objects ;  it  is  the  consistency  and  harmony  of  the  parts  juxta- 
posed, the  subordination  of  details  to  masses,  and  of  masses  to 
the  whole. 

The  law  of  adaptation  is  the  fundamental  law  of  nature  in 
all  structure.  So  unflinchingly  does  she  modify  a  type  in 
accordance  with  a  new  position,  that  some  philosophers  have 
declared  a  variety  of  appearance  to  be  the  object  aimed  at;  so 

American    Architecture.  123 

entirely  does  she  limit  the  modification  to  the  demands  of 
necessity,  that  adherence  to  one  original  plan  seems,  to  limited 
intelligence,  to  be  carried  to  the  very  verge  of  caprice.  The 
domination  of  arbitrary  rules  of  taste  has  produced  the  very 
counterpart  of  the  wisdom  thus  displayed  in  every  object 
around  us  ;  we  tie  up  the  cameleopard  to  the  rack  ;  we  shave 
the  lion,  and  call  him  a  dog  ;  we  strive  to  bind  the  unicorn 
with  his  band  in  the  furrow,  and  to  make  him  harrow  the  val- 
leys after  us  ! 

When  the  savage  of  the  South  Sea  islands  shapes  his  war 
club,  his  first  thought  is  of  its  use.  His  first  efforts  pare  the 
long  shaft,  and  mould  the  convenient  handle  ;  then  the  heavier 
end  takes  gradually  the  edge  that  cuts,  while  it  retains  the 
weight  that  stuns.  His  idler  hour  divides  its  surface  by  lines 
and  curves,  or  embosses  it  with  figures  that  have  pleased  his 
eye,  or  are  linked  with  his  superstition.  We  admire  its  effect- 
ive shape,  its  Etruscan-like  quaintness,  its  graceful  form  and 
subtle  outline,  yet  we  neglect  the  lesson  it  might  teach.  If  we 
compare  the  form  of  a  newly  invented  machine  with  the  per- 
fected type  of  the  same  instrument,  we  observe,  as  we  trace  it 
through  the  phases  of  improvement,  how  weight  is  shaken  off 
where  strength  is  less  needed,  how  functions  are  made  to 
approach  without  impeding  each  other,  how  the  straight 
becomes  curved,  and  the  curve  is  straightened,  till  the  strag- 
gling and  cumbersome  machine  becomes  the  compact,  effective, 
and  beautiful  engine. 

So  instinctive  is  the   perception  of  organic  beauty  in  the 

124  American    Architecture. 

human  eye,  that  we  cannot  withhold  our  admiration  even  from 
the  organs  of  destruction.  There  is  majesty  in  the  royal  paw 
of  the  lion,  music  in  the  motion  of  the  brindled  tiger  ;  we  accord 
our  praise  to  the  sword  and  the  dagger,  and  shudder  our  appro- 
val of  the  frightful  aptitude  of  the  ghastly  guillotine. 

Conceiving  destruction  to  be  a  normal  element  of  the  system 
of  nature  equally  with  production,  we  have  used  the  word 
beauty  in  connexion  with  it.  We  have  no  objection  to  ex- 
change it  for  the  word  character,  as  indicating  the  mere  adapt- 
ation of  forms  to  functions,  and  would  gladly  substitute  the 
actual  pretensions  of  our  architecture  to  the  former,  could  we 
hope  to  secure  the  latter. 

Let  us  now  turn  to  a  structure  of  our  own,  one  which,  from 
its  nature  and  uses,  commands  us  to  reject  authority,  and  we 
shall  find  the  result  of  the  manly  use  of  plain  good  sense,  so 
like  that  of  taste  and  genius  too,  as  scarce  to  require  a  distinct- 
ive title.  Observe  a  ship  at  sea  !  Mark  the  majestic  form  of 
her  hull  as  she  rushes  through  the  water,  observe  the  graceful 
bend  of  her  body,  the  gentle  transition  from  round  to  flat,  the 
grasp  of  her  keel,  the  leap  of  her  bows,  the  symmetry  and  rich 
tracery  of  her  spars  and  rigging,  and  those  grand  wind  mus- 
cles, her  sails.  Behold  an  organization  second  only  to  that  of 
an  animal,  obedient  as  the  horse,  swift  as  the  stag,  and  bearing 
the  burden  of  a  thousand  camels  from  pole  to  pole !  What 
Academy  of  Design,  what  research  of  connoisseurship,  what 
imitation  of  the  Greeks  produced  this  marvel  of  construction  ? 
Here  is  the  result  of  the  study  of  man  upon  the  great  deep, 

American     Architecture.  125 

where  Nature  spake  of  the  laws  of  building,  not  in  the  feather 
and  in  the  flower,  but  in  winds  and  waves,  and  he  bent  all  his 
mind  to  hear  and  to  obey.  Could  we  carry  into  our  civil 
architecture  the  responsibilities  that  weigh  upon  our  ship-build- 
ing, we  should  ere  long  have  edifices  as  superior  to  the  Parthe- 
non, for  the  purposes  that  we  require,  as  the  Constitution  or  the 
Pennsylvania  is  to  the  galley  of  the  Argonauts.  Could  our 
blunders  on  terra  firma  be  put  to  the  same  dread  test  that  those 
of  shipbuilders  are,  little  would  be  now  left  to  say  on  this 

Instead  of  forcing  the  functions  of  every  sort  of  building  into 
one  general  form,  adopting  an  outward  shape  for  the  sake  of 
the  eye  or  of  association,  without  reference  to  the  inner  distri- 
bution, let  us  begin  from  the  heart  as  a  nucleus,  and  work  out- 
wards. The  most  convenient  size  and  arrangement  of  the  rooms 
that  are  to  constitute  the  building  being  fixed,  the  access  of  the 
light  that  may,  of  the  air  that  must  be  wanted,  being  provided 
for,  we  have  the  skeleton  of  our  building.  Nay,  we  have  all 
excepting  the  dress.  The  connexion  and  order  of  parts,  juxta- 
posed for  convenience,  cannot  fail  to  speak  of  their  relation  and 
uses.  As  a  group  of  idlers  on  the  quay,  if  they  grasp  a  rope  to 
haul  a  vessel  to  the  pier,  are  united  in  harmonious  action  by  the 
cord  they  seize,  as  the  slowly  yielding  mass  forms  a  thorough- 
bass to  their  livelier  movement,  so  the  unflinching  adaptation 
of  a  building  to  its  position  and  use  gives,  as  a  sure  product  of 
that  adaptation,  character  and  expression. 

What  a  field  of  study  would  be  opened  by  the  adoption  in 

120  American    Architecture. 

civil  architecture  of  those  laws  of  apportionment,  distribution, 
and  connexion,  which  we  have  thus  hinted  at?  No  longer 
could  the  mere  tyro  huddle  together  a  crowd  of  ill-arranged, 
ill-lighted,  and  stifled  rooms,  and  masking  the  chaos  with  the 
sneaking  copy  of  a  Greek  facade,  usurp  the  name  of  architect. 
If  this  anatomic  connexion  and  proportion  has  been  attained  in 
ships,  in  machines,  and,  in  spite  of  false  principles,  in  such 
buildings  as  make  a  departure  from  it  fatal,  as  in  bridges  and 
in  scaffolding,  why  should  we  fear  its  immediate  use  in  all  con- 
struction ?  As  its  first  result,  the  bank  wrould  have  the  physi- 
ognomy of  a  bank,  the  church  would  be  recognised  as  such, 
nor  would  the  billiard-room  and  the  chapel  wear  the  same  uni- 
form of  columns  and  pediment.  The  African  king,  standing  in 
mock  majesty  with  his  legs  and  feet  bare,  and  his  body  clothed 
in  a  cast  coat  of  the  Prince  Regent,  is  an  object  whose  ridicu- 
lous effect  defies  all  power  of  face.  Is  not  the  Greek  temple 
jammed  in  between  the  brick  shops  of  Wall  street  or  Cornhill, 
covered  with  lettered  signs,  and  occupied  by  groups  of  money- 
changers and  apple  women,  a  parallel  even  for  his  African 
majesty  ? 

We  have  before  us  a  letter  in  which  Mr.  Jefferson  recom- 
mends the  model  of  the  Maison  Carree  for  the  State  House  at 
Richmond.  Was  he  aware  that  the  Maison  Carree  is  but  a 
fragment,  and  that  too,  of  a  Roman  temple  ?  He  was ;  it  is 
beautiful — is  the  answrer.  An  English  society  erected  in  Hyde 
Park  a  cast  in  bronze  of  the  colossal  Achilles  of  the  Quirinal, 
and,  changing  the  head,  transformed  it  into  a  monument  to 

American    Architecture.  12*7 

Wellington.  But  where  is  the  distinction  between  the  personal 
prowess,  the  invulnerable  body,  the  heaven-shielded  safety  of 
the  hero  of  the  Iliad,  and  the  complex  of  qualities  which  makes 
the  modern  general  ?  The  statue  is  beautiful, — is  the  answer. 
If  such  reasoning  is  to  hold,  why  not  translate  one  of  Pindar's 
odes  in  memory  of  Washington,  or  set  up  in  Carolina  a  colossal 
Osiris  in  honor  of  General  Greene  ? 

The  monuments  of  Egypt  and  of  Greece  are  sublime  as 
expressions  of  their  power  and  their  feeling.  The  modern 
nation  that  appropriates  them  displays  only  wealth  in  so  doing. 
The  possession  of  means,  not  accompanied  by  the  sense  of  pro- 
priety or  feeling  for  the  true,  can  do  no  more  for  a  nation  than 
it  can  do  for  an  individual.  The  want  of  an  illustrious  ancestry 
may  be  compensated,  fully  compensated  ;  but  the  purloining  of 
the  coat-of-arms  of  a  defunct  family  is  intolerable.  That  such 
a  monument  as  we  have  described  should  have  been  erected  in 
London  while  Chantry  flourished,  when  Flaxman's  fame  was 
cherished  by  the  few,  and  Bailey  aud  Behnes  were  already 
known,  is  an  instructive  fact.  That  the  illustrator  of  the  Greek 
poets,  and  of  the  Lord's  Prayer,  should,  in  the  meanwhile,  have 
been  preparing  designs  for  George  the  Fourth's  silversmiths,  is 
not  less  so. 

The  edifices,  in  whose  construction  the  principles  of  architec- 
ture are  developed,  may  be  classed  as  organic,  formed  to  meet 
the  wants  of  their  occupants,  or  monumental,  addressed  to  the 
sympathies,  the  faith,  or  the  taste  of  a  people.  These  two 
great  classes  of  buildings,  embracing  almost   every  variety  of 

12S  American    Architecture. 

structure,  though  occasionally  joined  and  mixed  in  the  same 
edifice,  have  their  separate  rules,  as  they  have  a  distinct 
abstract  nature.  In  the  former  class,  the  laws  of  structure 
and  apportionment,  depending  on  definite  wants,  obey  a 
demonstrable  rule.  They  may  be  called  machines,  each  indi- 
vidual of  which  must  be  formed  with  reference  to  the  abstract 
type  of  its  species.  The  individuals  of  the  latter  class,  bound 
by  no  other  laws  than  those  of  the  sentiment  which  inspires 
them,  and  the  sympathies  to  which  they  are  addressed,  occupy 
the  positions  and  assume  the  forms  best  calculated  to  render 
their  parent  feeling.  No  limits  can  be  put  to  their  variety ; 
their  size  and  richness  have  always  been  proportioned  to  the 
means  of  the  people  who  have  erected  them. 

If,  from  what  has  been  thus  far  said,%  it  shall  have  appeared 
that  we  regard  the  Greek  masters  as  aught  less  than  the  true 
apostles  of  correct  taste  in  building,  we  have  been  misunder- 
stood. We  believe  firmly  and  fully  that  they  can  teach  us  ; 
but  let  us  learn  principles,  not  copy  shapes ;  let  us  imitate 
them  like  men,  and  not  ape  them  like  monkeys.  Remember- 
ing what  a  school  of  art  it  was  that  perfected  their  system  of 
ornament,  let  us  rather  adhere  to  that  system  in  enriching 
what  we  invent  than  substitute  novelty  for  propriety.  After 
observing  the  innovations  of  the  ancient  Romans,  and  of  the 
modern  Italian  masters  in  this  department,  we  cannot  but 
recur  to  the  Horatian  precept — 

"  exeroplaria  Grrcca 
Xocturna  versate  mami,  .versate  diurna !" 

American    Architecture.  129 

To  conclude  :  The  fundamental  laws  of  building,  found  at 
the  basis  of  every  style  of  architecture,  must  be  the  basis  of 
ours.  The  adaptation  of  the  forms  and  magnitude  of  structures 
to  the  climate  they  are  exposed  to,  and  the  offices  for  which 
they  are  intended,  teaches  us  to  study  our  own  varied  wants 
in  these  respects.  The  harmony  of  their  ornaments  with  the 
nature  that  they  embellished,  and  the  institutions  from  which 
they  sprang,  calls  on  us  to  do  the  like  justice  to  our  country, 
our  government,  and  our  faith.  As  a  Christian  preacher  may 
give  weight  to  truth,  and  add  persuasion  to  proof,  by  studying 
the  models  of  pagan  writers,  so  the  American  builder,  by  a 
truly  philosophic  investigation  of  ancient  art,  will  learn  of  the 
Greeks  to  be  American. 

The  system  of  building  we  have  hinted  at  cannot  be  formed 
in  a  day.  It  requires  all  the  science  of  any  country  to  ascer- 
tain and  fix  the  proportions  and  arrangements  of  the  members 
of  a  great  building,  to  plant  it  safely  on  the  soil,  to  defend  it 
from  the  elements,  to  add  the  grace  and  poetry  of  ornament  to 
its  frame.  Each  of  these  requisites  to  a  good  building  requires 
a  special  study  and  a  life-time.  Whether  we  are  destined  soon 
to  see  so  noble  a  fruit,  may  be  doubted  ;  but  we  can,  at  least, 
break  the  ground  and  throw  in  the  seed. 

We  are  fully  aware  that  many  regard  all  matters  of  taste 
as  matters  of  pure  caprice  and  fashion.  We  are  aware  that 
many  think  our  architecture  already  perfect;  but  we  have 
chosen,  during  this  sultry  weather,  to  exercise  a  truly  Ameri- 
can right — the  right  of  talking.     This  privilege,  thank  God, 

130  American    Architecture. 

is  unquestioned, — from  Miller,  who,  robbing  Beranger,  trans- 
lates into  fanatical  prose,  "  Finissons  en !  le  monde  est  assez 
vieux !"  to  Brisbane,  who  declares  that  the  same  world  has  yet 
to  begin,  and  waits  a  subscription  of  two  hundred  thousand 
dollars  in  order  to  start.  Each  man  is  free  to  present  his 
notions  on  any  subject.  We  have  also  talked,  firm  in  the 
belief  that  the  development  of  a  nation's  taste  in  art  depends 
on  a  thousand  deep-seated  influences,  beyond  the  ken  of  the 
ignorant  present ;  firm  in  the  belief  that  freedom  and  know- 
ledge will  bear  the  fruit  of  refinement  and  beauty,  we  have 
yet  dared  to  utter  a  few  words  of  discontent,  a  few  crude 
thoughts  of  what  might  be,  and  we  feel  the  better  for  it. 
We  promised  ourselves  nothing  more  than  that  satisfaction 
which  Major  Downing  attributes  to  every  man  "  who  has  had 
his  say,  and  then  cleared  out,"  and  we  already  have  a  pleasant 
consciousness  of  what  he  meant  by  it. 


There  are  threads  of  relation  which  lead  me  from  my  specialty 
to  the  specialties  of  other  men.  Following  this  commune  quod- 
dam  vinculum,  I  lay  my  artistic  dogma  at  the  feet  of  science ; 
I  test  it  by  the  traditional  lore  of  handicraft ;  I  seek  a  confir- 
mation of  these  my  inductions,  or  a  contradiction  and  refuta- 
tion of  them  ;  I  utter  these  inductions  as  they  occur  to  myself; 
I  illustrate  them  by  what  they  spontaneously  suggest ;  I  let 
them  lead  me  as  a  child*. 

Persons  whose  light  I  have  sought,  have  been  worried  and 
fretted  at  the  form,  the  body  of  my  utterance.  Since  this  soul, 
if  soul  it  be,  took  the  form  of  this  body,  I  have  received  it  as  it 
came.  If  I  seek  another  form,  another  dress  than  that  with 
which  my  thought  was  born,  shall  I  not  disjoin  that  which  is 
one  ?  Shall  I  not  disguise  what  I  seek  to  decorate  ?  I  have 
seen  that  there  is  in  the  body  and  the  dress  an  indication  of 
the  quantum  and  quality  of  the  mind,  and  therefore  doth  it 
seem  honest  that  I  seek  no  other  dress  than  mine  own.  I  also 
know  by  heart  some  lines  and  proportions  of  the  work  of  able 
penmen.     The  lucidus  ordo  of  another  mind  is  not  displayed 

132  Relative    and 

before  me  as  pearls  before  swine.  I  love  to  bear  in  my  bosom 
a  nosegay  plucked  in  classic  ground  :  it  sweetens  me  to  myself. 
I  respect  too  much  the  glory  of  Schiller  and  Winkelman,  of 
Goethe  and  Hegel,  to  dare  purloin  their  vesture  for  my  crudi- 
ties. The  partial  development  of  my  mind  makes  the  dress 
and  garb  of  imperfection  proper  for  me.  My  notion  of  art  is 
not  a  somewhat  set  forth  for  sale,  that  I  should  show  it  to 
advantage,  or  a  soldier  in  uniform,  anxious  to  pass  muster,  but 
rather  a  poor  babe,  whom  I  strip  before  the  faculty,  that  they 
may  council  and  advise — perad venture  bid  me  despair. 

Bodies  are  so  varied  by  climate,  and  so  changed  by  work, 
that  it  is  rash  to  condemn  them  until  impotence  is  demon- 
strated. The  camelopard  was  long  declared  a  monster,  born 
of  fancy,  a  nightmare  of  traveller's  brain  ;  but  when  the  giraffe 
stood  browsing  in  the  tree-tops  before  us,  we  felt  that  we  had 
been  hasty.  God's  law  is  as  far  away  from  our  taste  as  his 
ways  are  beyond  our  ways.  I  know  full  well  that,  without 
dress  and  ornament,  there  are  places  whence  one  is  expelled. 
I  am  too  proud  to  seek  admittance  in  disguise.  I  had  rather 
remain  in  the  street,  than  get  in  by  virtue  of  a  borrowed  coat. 
That  which  is  partial  and  fractional  may  yet  be  sound  and 
good  as  far  as  it  goes. 

In  the  hope  that  some  persons,  studious  of  art,  may  be  curi- 
ous to  see  how  I  develope  the  formula  I  have  set  up,  I  proceed. 
When  I  define  Beauty  as  the  promise  of  Function ;  Action  as 
the  presence  of  Function  ;  Character  as  the  record  of  Function, 
I  arbitrarily  divide  that  which  is  essentially  one.     I  consider 

Independent    Beauty.  133 

the  phases  through  which  organized  intention  passes  to  com- 
pleteness, as  if  they  were  distinct  entities.  Beauty  being  the 
promise  of  function,  must  be  mainly  present  before  the  phase 
of  action  ;  but  so  long  as  there  is  yet  a  promise  of  function  there 
is  beauty,  proportioned  to  its  relation  with  action  or  with  cha- 
racter. There  is  somewhat  of  character  at  the  close  of  the  first 
epoch  of  the  organic  life,  as  there  is  somewhat  of  beauty  at  the 
commencement  of  the  last,  but  they  are  less  apparent,  and 
present  rather  to  the  reason  than  to  sensuous  tests. 

If  the  normal  development  of  organized  life  be  from  beauty 
to  action,  from  action  to  character,  the  progress  is  a  progress 
upwards  as  well  as  forwards ;  and  action  will  be  higher  than 
beauty,  even  as  the  summer  is  higher  than  the  spring ;  and 
character  will  be  higher  than  action,  even  as  autumn  is  the 
resume  and  result  of  spring  and  summer.  If  this  be  true,  the 
attempt  to  prolong  the  phase  of  beauty  into  the  epoch  of  action 
can  only  be  made  through  non-performance ;  and  false  beauty 
or  embellishment  must  be  the  result. 

Why  is  the  promise  of  function  made  sensuously  pleasing  ? 
Because  the  inchoate  organic  life  needs  a  care  and  protection 
beyond  its  present  means  of  payment.  In  order  that  we  may 
respect  instinctive  action,  which  is  divine,  are  our  eyes  charmed 
by  the  aspect  of  infancy,  and  our  hearts  obedient  to  the  com- 
mand of  a  visible  yet  impotent  volition. 

The  sensuous  charm  of  promise  is  so  great  that  the  unripe 
reason  seeks  to  make  life  a  perennial  promise ;  but  promise,  in 

134  •     Relative    and 

the   phase   of   action,  receives    a   new    name — that  of   non- 
performance, and  is  visited  with  contempt. 

The  dignity  of  character  is  so  great  that  the  unripe  reason 
seeks  to  mark  the  phase  of  action  with  the  sensuous  livery  of 
character.  The  ivy  is  trained  up  the  green  wall,  and  while  the 
promise  is  still  fresh  on  every  line  of  the  building,  its  function 
is  invaded  bv  the  ambition  to  seem  to  have  lived. 

Not  to  promise  for  ever,  or  to  boast  at  the  outset,  not  to 
shine  and  to  seem,  but  to  be  and  to  act,  is  the  glory  of  any 
coordination  of  parts  for  an  object. 

I  have  spoken  of  embellishment  as  false  beauty.  I  will 
briefly  develope  this  view  of  embellishment.  Man  is  an  ideal 
being;  standing,  himself  inchoate  and  incomplete,  amid  the 
concrete  manifestations  of  Nature,  his  first  observation  recog- 
nises defect ;  his  first  action  is  an  effort  to  complete  his  being. 
Not  gifted,  as  the  brutes,  with  an  instinctive  sense  of  complete- 
ness, he  stands  alone  as  capable  of  conative  action.  He  studies 
himself;  he  disciplines  himself.  Now,  his  best  efforts  at  orga- 
nization falling  short  of  the  need  that  is  in  his  heart,  and  there- 
fore infinite,  he  has  sought  to  compensate  for  the  defect  in  his 
plan  by  a  charm  of  execution.  Tasting  sensuously  the  effect  of 
a  rhythm  and  harmony  in  God's  world,  beyond  any  adaptation 
of  means  to  ends  that  his  reason  could  measure  and  approve, 
he  has  sought  to  perfect  his  own  approximation  to  the  essential 
by  crowning  it  with  a  wreath  of  measured  and  musical,  yet  non- 
demonstrable,  adjunct.     Now,  I  affirm  that,  from  the  ground 

Independent    Beauty.  135 

whereon  I  stand  and  whence  I  think  I  see  him  operate,  he 
thus  mirrors,  but  darkly,  God's  world.  By  the  sense  of  incom- 
pleteness in  his  plan,  he  shows  the  divine  yearning  that  is  in 
him ;  by  the  effort  to  compensate  for  defect  in  plan  by  any 
make-shift  whatever,  he  forbids,  or  at  least  checks,  further 
effort.  I  understand,  therefore,  by  embellishment,  the  in- 

science  disguised.  The  many-sided  and  full  and  rich  har- 
mony of  nature  is  a  many-sided  response  to  the  call  for  many 
functions  ;  not  an  sesthetical  utterance  of  the  Godhead.  In  the 
tree  and  in  the  bird,  in  the  shell  and  in  the  insect,  we  see  the 
utterance  of  him  who  sayeth  yea,  yea,  and  nay,  nay  ;  and, 
therefore,  whatever  is  assumed  as  neutral  ground,  or  margin 
around  the  essential,  will  be  found  to  come  of  evil,  or,  in  other 
words,  to  be  incomplete. 

I  base  my  opinion  of  embellishment  upon  the  hypothesis 
that  there  is  not  one  truth  in  religion,  another  in  the  mathe- 
matics, and  a  third  in  physics  and  in  art;  but  that  there  is  one 
truth,  even  as  one  God,  and  that  organization  is  his  utterance. 
Now,  organization  obeys  his  law.  It  obeys  his  law  by  an 
approximation  to  the  essential,  and  then  there  is  what  we  term 
life ;  or  it  obeys  his  law  by  falling  short  of  the  essential,  and 
then  there  is  disorganization.  I  have  not  seen  the  inorganic 
attached  to  the  organized  but  as  a  symptom  of  imperfect  plan, 
or  of  impeded  function,  or  of  extinct  action. 

The  normal   development  of  beauty  is  through  action  to 

136  Relative    and 

completeness.  The  invariable  development  of  embellishment 
and  decoration  is  more  embellishment  and  more  decoration. 
The  reductio  ad  absurdum  is  palpable  enough  at  last;  but 
•where  was  the  first  downward  step  ?  I  maintain  that  the  first 
downward  step  was  the  introduction  of  the  first  inorganic,  non- 
functional element,  whether  of  shape  or  color.  If  I  be  told  that 
such  a  system  as  mine  would  produce  nakedness,  I  accept  the 
omen.  In  nakedness  I  behold  the  majesty  of  the  essential, 
instead  of  the  trappings  of  pretension.  The  agendum  is  not 
diminished ;  it  is  infinitely  extended.  We  shall  have  grasped 
with  tiny  hands  the  standard  of  Christ,  and  borne  it  into  the 
academy,  when  we  shall  call  upon  the  architect,  and  sculptor, 
and  painter  to  seek  to  be  perfect  even  as  our  father  is  perfect. 
The  assertion  that  the  human  body  is  other  than  a  fit  exponent 
and  symbol  of  the  human  being,  is  a  falsehood,  I  believe.  I 
believe  it  to  be  false  on  account  of  the  numerous  palpable 
falsehoods  which  have  been  necessary  in  order  to  clinch  it. 

Beauty  is  the  promise  of  Function.  Solomon,  in  all  his 
glory,  is,  therefore,  not  arrayed  as  the  lily  of  the  field.  Solo- 
mon's array  is  the  result  of  the  instinctive  effort  of  incomplete- 
ness to  pass  itself  for  complete.  It  is  pretension.  When 
Solomon  shall  have  appreciated  nature  and  himself,  he  will 
reduce  his  household,  and  adapt  his  harness,  not  for  pretension, 
but  for  performance.  The  lily  is  arrayed  in  heavenly  beauty, 
because  it  is  organized  both  in  shape  and  color,  to  dose  the 
germ  of  future  lilies  with  atmospheric  and  solar  influence. 

We  now  approach   the   grand   conservative  trap,  the  basis 

Independent    Beauty.  13V 

of  independent  beauty.  Finding  in  God's  world  a  sensuous 
beauty,  not  organically  demonstrated  to  us,  the  hierarchies 
call  on  us  to  shut  our  eyes,  and  kneel  to  an  sesthetical  utterance 
of  the  divinity.  I  refuse.  Finding  here  an  apparent  embel- 
lishment, I  consider  the  appearance  of  embellishment  an 
accusation  of  ignorance  and  incompleteness  in  my  science.  I 
confirm  my  refusal  after  recalling  the  fact  that  science  has, 
thus  far,  done  nothing  else  than  resolve  the  lovely  on  the  one 
hand,  the  hateful  on  the  other,  into  utterances  of  the  Godhead 
— the  former  being  yea,  the  latter  nay.  As  the  good  citizen 
obeys  the  good  law  because  it  is  good,  and  the  bad  law 
that  its  incompleteness  be  manifest,  so  does  every  wrong  result 
from  divine  elements,  accuse  the  organization,  and  by  pain 
and  woe  represent  X,  or  the  desired  solution.  To  assert  that 
this  or  that  form  or  color  is  beautiful  per  se,  is  to  formulate 
prematurely ;  it  is  to  arrogate  godship ;  and  once  that  false 
step  is  taken,  human-godship  or  tyranny  is  inevitable  without 
a  change  of  creed. 

The  first  lispings  of  science  declared  that  nature  abhors  a 
vacuum  ;  there  we  see  humanity  expressing  its  ignorance,  by 
transferring  a  dark  passion  to  the  Godhead  which  is  light  and 
love.  This  formula  could  not  outlive  experiment,  which  has 
demonstrated  that  God's  care  upholds  us  with  so  many  pounds 
to  the  square  inch  of  pressure  on  every  side,  and  that  the 
support  is  variable. 

The  ancients  knew  somewhat  of  steam.     They  formulated 

steam  as  a  devil.    The  vessels  at  Pompeii  all  speak  one  language 


138  Relative    and 

— look  out  for  steam  !  The  moderns  have  looked  into  steam, 
and,  by  wrestling  with  him,  have  forced  him  to  own  himself  an 
angel — an  utterance  of  love  and  care. 

We  are  told  that  we  shall  know  trees  by  their  fruits  :  even 
because  of  the  fruits  of  refusing  to  kneel,  and  of  worshipping 
with  the  eyes  open,  do  I  proceed  to  seek  that  I  may  find. 

Mr.  Garbett,  in  his  learned  and  able  treatise  on  the 
principles  of  Design  in  Architecture,  has  dissected  the  English 
house,  and  found  with  the  light  of  two  words,  fallen  from  Mr. 
Emerson,  the  secret  of  the  inherent  ugliness  of  that  structure. 
It  is  the  cruelty  and  selfishness  of  a  London  house,  he  says 
(and  I  think  he  proves  it,  too),  which  affects  us  so  disagree- 
ably as  we  look  upon  it.  Now,  these  qualities  in  a  house,  like 
the  blear-eyed  stolidity  of  an  habitual  sot,  are  symptoms,  not 
diseases.  Mr.  Garbett  should  see  herein  the  marvellous  expres- 
sion of  which  bricks  and  mortar  can  be  made  the  vehicles. 
In  vain  will  he  attempt  to  get  by  embellishment  a  denial  of 
selfishness,  so  long  as  selfishness  reigns.  To  medicate  s}rmp- 
toms,  will  never,  at  best,  do  more  than  effect  a  metastasis — 
suppress  an  eruption;  let  us  believe,  rather,  that  the  English- 
man's love  of  home  has  expelled  the  selfishness  from  the 
boudoir,  the  kitchen,  and  the  parlor,  nobler  organs,  and 
thrown  it  out  on  the  skin,  the  exterior,  where  it  less  threatens 
life,  and  stands  only  for  X,  or  a  desired  solution.  If  I  have 
been  clear  in  what  I  have  said,  it  will  be  apparent  that  the 
intention,  the  soul  of  an  organization,  will  get  utterance  in  the 
organization  in   proportion  to  the  means  at  its  disposal  :  in 

Independent    Beauty.  139 

vain  shall  you  drill  the  most  supple  body  of  hiin  that  hates 
me,  into  a  manifestation  of  love  for  me  ;  while  my  blind  and 
deaf  cousin  will  soon  make  me  feel,  and  pleasingly  feel,  that  I 
was  the  man  in  all  the  world  that  he  wished  to  meet. 

In  seeking,  through  artistic  analysis,  a  confirmation  of  my 
belief  in  one  God,  I  offend  such  hierarchies  as  maintain  that 
there  be  two  Gods  :  the  one  good  and  all  powerful,  the  other 
evil,  and  somewhat  powerful.  It  is  only  necessary,  in  order  to 
demolish  the  entire  structure  I  have  raised,  that  some  advocate 
of  independent  beauty  and  believer  in  the  devil — for  they  go 
and  come  together — demonstrate  embellishment  for  the  sake 
of  beauty  in  a  work  of  the  divine  hand,  Let  me  be  under- 
stood ;  I  cannot  accept  as  a  demonstration  of  embellishment  a 
sensuous  beauty  not  yet  organically  explained.  I  throw  the 
onus  probandi  on  him  who  commands  me  to  kneel.  I  learned 
this  trick  in  Italy,  where  the  disappointed  picture-dealer  often 
defied  me,  denying  his  daub  to  be  a  Raphael,  to  say,  then, 
what  it  was.  No,  my  friend,  I  care  not  whose  it  is  ;  when  I  say 
certainly  not  a  Raphael,  I  merely  mean  that  I  will  none  of  it. 

If  there  be  in  religion  any  truth,  in  morals  any  beauty,  in 
art  any  charm,  but  through  fruits,  then  let  them  be  demon- 
strated ;  and  the  demonstration,  in  regard  to  morals  and  faith, 
will  work  backward  and  enlighten  art. 

I  have  diligently  sought,  with  scalpel  and  pencil,  an  embel- 
lishment for  the  sake  of  beauty,  a  sacrifice  of  function  to  other 
than  destruction.     I  have  not  found  it,     "When  I,  therefore, 

140  Relative    and 

defy  the  believer  in  the  devil  to  show  me  sueh  an  embellish- 
ment, I  do  so  humbly.     I  want  help. 

It  seems  to  me  that  a  word  of  caution  is  necessary  before 
seeking  independent  beauty.  Beauty  may  be  present,  yet  not 
be  recognised  as  such.  If  we  lack  the  sense  of  the  promise  of 
function,  beauty  for  us  will  not  exist.  The  inhabitants  of  cer- 
tain Swiss  valleys  regard  a  goitre  as  ornamental.  It  is  a  some- 
what superadded  to  the  essential,  and  they  see  it  under  the 
charm  of  association.  The  courtiers  of  Louis  XIV.  admired  the 
talon  rouge,  and  the  enormous perruque.  They  were  somewhat 
superadded  to  the  essential,  and  they  saw  them  under  the 
charm  of  association ;  but  the  educated  anatomist  in  Switzer- 
land sees  the  goitre  as  we  see  it.  The  educated  artist  of  Louis 
XIV.'s  time  saw  the  maiming  pretension  of  his  dress  as  we 
see  it. 

The  aim  of  the  artist,  therefore,  should  be  first  to  seek  the 
essential ;  when  the  essential  hath  been  found,  then,  if  ever,  will 
be  the  time  to  commence  embellishment.  I  will  venture  to 
predict  that  the  essential,  when  found,  will  be  complete.  I  will 
venture  to  predict  that  completeness  will  instantly  throw  off  all 
that  is  not  itself,  and  will  thus  command,  "  Thou  shalt  have  no 
other  Gods  beside  me."  In  a  word,  completeness  is  the  abso- 
lute utterance  of  the  Godhead ;  not  the  completeness  of  the 
Catholic  bigot,  or  of  the  Quaker,  which  is  a  pretended  one, 
obtained  by  negation  of  God-given  tendencies ;  but  the  com- 
pleteness of  the  sea,  which  hath  a  smile  as  unspeakable  as  the 

Independent    Beauty.  141 

darkness  of  its  wrath. ;  the  completeness  of  earth,  whose  every 
atom  is  a  microcosm ;  the  completeness  of  the  human  body, 
where  all  relations  are  resumed  at  once  and  dominated.  As 
the  monarch  rises  out  of  savage  manhood  a  plumed  Czar, 
embellishing  his  short-comings  with  the  sensuous  livery  of  pro- 
mise, yet,  entering  the  phase  of  developed  thought  and  con- 
scious vigor,  stands  the  eagle-eyed  and  grey-coated  Bonaparte, 
so  will  every  development  of  real  humanity  pass  through  the 
phase  of  non-demonstrable  embellishment,  which  is  a  false 
completeness,  to  the  multiform  organization  which  responds  to 
every  call. 

I  hold  the  human  body,  therefore,  to  be  a  multiform  com- 
mand. Its  capacities  are  the  law  and  gauge  of  manhood  as 
connected  with  earth.  T  hold  the  blessings  attendant  upon 
obedience  to  this  command,  to  be  the  yea,  yea ;  the  woe  con- 
sequent upon  disobedience,  the  nay,  nay,  of  the  Godhead. 
These  God  daily  speaketh  to  him  whose  eyes  and  ears  are  open. 
Other  than  these  I  have  not  heard.  When,  therefore,  the  life 
of  man  shall  have  been  made  to  respond  to  the  command  which 
is  in  his  being,  giving  the  catholic  result  of  a  sound  collective 
mind  in  a  sound  aggregate  body,  he  will  organize  his  human 
instrument  or  art  for  its  human  purpose,  even  as  he  shall  have 
adapted  his  human  life  to  the  divine  instrument  which  was 
given  him.  I  wish  to  be  clear ;  the  instrument  or  body  being 
of  divine  origin,  we  formulate  rashly  when  we  forego  it,  before 
thoroughly  responding  to  its  requirement.     That  it  is  in  itself 

142  Relative    and 

no  final  or  complete  entity  is  herein  manifest,  that  it  changes. 
The  significance  of  yesterday,  to-day,  and.  to-morrow,  is  this, 
that  we  are  in  a  state  of  development.  Now,  the  idea  of  deve- 
lopment necessarily  supposes  incompleteness ;  now,  complete- 
ness can  know  no  change.  The  instrument  of  body  is  no  hap- 
hazard datum,  given  as  an  approximation,  whose  short-comings 
we  are  to  correct  by  convention,  arbitrium,  and  whim,  but  an 
absolute  requirement,  and  only  then  responding  to  the  divine 
intention  when  its  higher  nature  shall  be  unfolded  bv  hio-h 
function,  even  as  the  completeness  of  the  brute  responds  to  the 
requirement  of  his  lower  nature. 

Internecine  war  is  the  law  of  brute  existence.  War !  The 
lion  lives  not  by  food  alone.  "Behold,  how  he  pines  and  dwin- 
dles as  he  growls  over  his  butcher's  meat !  It  is  in  the  stealthy 
march,  the  ferocious  bound,  and  deadly  grapple,  tearing  palpi- 
tating flesh  from  writhing  bone — a  halo  of  red  rain  around  his 
head — that  he  finds  the  completion  of  his  being,  in  obedience 
to  a  word  that  proceeded  out  of  the  mouth  of  God.  Now,  the 
law  of  brute  life  is  the  law  of  human  life,  in  so  far  as  the  brute 
man  is  undeveloped  in  his  higher  tendencies.  They,  therefore, 
who,  having  formulated  a  credo  for  infant  intelligence,  and  find- 
ing domination  thereby  secured,  proceed  to  organize  a  'peren- 
nial infancy,  that  they  may  enjoy  an  eternal  dominion,  will 
sooner  or  later  see  their  sheep  transformed  to  tigers ;  for  the 
law  of  development  being  a  divine  law,  can  only  be  withstood 
by  perishing.     If  what  I  have  said  be  true,  collective  manhood 

Independent    Beauty.  143 

will  never  allow  exceptional  development  to  slumber  at  the 
helm  or  to  abuse  the  whip.  Collective  manhood  calls  for  deve- 
lopment. If  exceptional  development  answer — Lo  !  ye  are  but 
wolves,  manhood  will  reply, — Then,  have  at  you !  lie  who 
cannot  guide,  must  come  down.  We  feel  that  we  cannot 
remain  where  we  are. 

I  have  followed  this  train  of  remark  whither  it  led  me.  Let 
us  resume.  Organization  being  the  passage  of  intention 
through  function  to  completeness,  the  expressions  of  its  phases 
are  symptoms  only.  The  same  philosophy  which  has  cloaked, 
and  crippled,  and  smothered  the  human  body  as  rebelling 
against  its  Creator,  yet  always  in  vain,  because  the  human 
body,  like  the  Greek  hero,  says,  Strike !  but  learn,  that  philo- 
sophy has  set  up  a  theory  of  beauty  by  authority,  of  beauty 
independent  of  other  things  than  its  own  mysterious  harmony 
with  the  human  soul.  Thus,  we  remark  that  the  human  soul, 
so  inclined  to  evil  in  the  moral  world,  according  to  the  same 
philosophy,  is  sovereign  arbiter  of  beauty  in  the  sesthetical 
world.  The  Creator,  who  formed  man's  soul  with  a  thirst  for 
sin,  and  his  body  as  a  temple  of  shame,  has,  therefore,  made 
his  taste  infallible!  Let  us  seek  through  the  whole  history  of 
arbitrary  embellishment  to  find  a  resting-place.  We  shall  look 
in  vain  ;  for  the  introduction  of  the  inorganic  into  the  organized 
is  destruction ;  its  development  has  ever  been  a  reductio  ad 

There  is  no  conceivable  function  which  does  not  obey  an 

144  Relative    and 

absolute  law.  The  approximation  to  that  law  in  material,  in 
parts,  in  their  form,  color,  and  relations,  is  the  measure  of  free- 
dom or  obedience  to  God,  in  life.  The  attempt  to  stamp  the 
green  fruit,  the  dawning  science,  the  inchoate  life,  as  final,  by 
such  exceptional  minds  and  social  achievements  as  have  pro- 
duced a  wish  to  remain  here,  and  a  call  for  a  tabernacle,  these 
are  attempts  to  divide  manhood,  which  is  one ;  they  are 
attempts  to  swim  away  from  brute  man,  sinking  in  the  sea  of 
fate.  They  will  ever  be  put  to  shame  ;  for  the  ignorance  of 
the  ignorant  confounds  the  wise ;  for  the  filth  of  the  filthy 
befouls  the  clean  ;  for  the  poverty  of  the  poor  poisons  the  quiet 
of  the  possessor.  The  brute  man  clings  to  the  higher  man  ;  he 
loves  him  even  as  himself;  he  cannot  be  shaken  off;  he  must 
be  assimilated  and  absorbed. 

I  call,  therefore,  upon  science,  in  all  its  branches,  to  arrest  the 
tide  of  sensuous  and  arbitrary  embellishment,  so  far  as  it  can 
do  it,  not  negatively  by  criticism  thereof  alone,  but  positively, 
by  making  the  instrument  a  many-sided  response  to  the  multi- 
form demands  of  life.  The  craving  for  completeness  will  then 
obtain  its  normal  food  in  results,  not  the  opiate  and  deadening 
stimulus  of  decoration.  Then  will  structure  and  its  dependent 
sister  arts  emerge  from  the  stand-still  of  ipse  dixit,  and,  like  the 
ship,  the  team,  the  steam-engine,  proceed  through  phases  of 
development  towards  a  response  to  need. 

The  truth  of  such  doctrine,  if  truth  be  in  it,  must  share  the 
fate  of  other  truth,  and  offend  him  whose  creed  is  identified 

Independent    Beauty.  145 

with  the  false ;  it  must  meet  the  indifference  of  the  many  who 
believe  that  a  new  truth  is  born  every  week  for  him  who  can 
afford  to  advertise.  But  it  must  earn  a  place  in  the  heart  of 
him  who  has  sought  partial  truths  with  success ;  for  truths  are 
all  related. 


In  passing  through  New  Haven,  a  few  days  since,  I  visited 
the  Trumbull  gallery,  and  was  sincerely  gratified  to  find  the 
works  of  my  venerable  friend  collected,  cared  for,  and  in  the 
keeping  of  a  dignified  and  permanent  corporation. 

I  remarked  with  regret  that  the  building,  where  these  works 
of  Col.  Trumbull  are  kept,  was  in  part  of  combustible  material, 
and  warmed  in  a  manner  which  must  always  be  injurious  to 
pictures.  I  am  not  aware  of  the  wants  which  placed  the  gallery 
on  the  second  story,  with  a  wooden  floor  and  a  wooden  stair- 
case so  near  the  pictures.  Whatever  ends  may  have  been 
gained  by  this  arrangement,  much  has  been  sacrificed  to  them. 
Had  this  gallery  been  located  on  a  ground  floor,  in  a  building 
of  one  story,  lighted  as  at  present,  with  a  stone  or  painted  brick 
floor  resting  upon  ventilated  cobble  stones,  I  must  believe  that 
the  expense  would  have  been  no  greater,  and  the  security 

I  noted  a  most  interesting  ojbject  in  this  gallery,  a  sketch  of 
Major  Andre  made  by  himself  on  the  day  of  his  execution. 
This  sketch,  which  is  made  with  a  pen,  is  not  of  artistic  value 

The    Trumbull    Gallery.  147 

beyond  what  may  be  looked  for  in  similar  efforts  of  any  edu- 
cated engineer ;  but  it  has  a  historic  and  personal  interest  of  a 
high  order,  and  I  would  venture  to  hint  that  it  is  not  properly 
framed  considering  its  value,  nor  safely  kept,  if  any  one  con- 
sider its  high  interest  elsewhere.  It  should  form  an  inseparable 
part  of  some  larger  fixture.  This  suggestion  would  be  both 
uncalled  for  and  ungracious,  but  for  the  fact  that  much  larger 
works  have  in  Europe  been  abstracted  from  places  of  public 
resort,  and  that,  too,  in  spite  of  a  jealous  supervision  of  the 
authorities  interested  in  their  preservation. 

It  was  truly  interesting  to  observe  in  this  collection  the  small 
studies  of  Col.  Trumbull's  pictures  for  the  Rotunda;  and  since 
I  have  mentioned  these,  I  cannot  refrain  from  saying  a  few 
words  in  relation  to  the  Declaration  of  Independence,  which  I 
regard  as  by  far  the  ablest  of  these  pictures,  a  work  selected  by 
John  Randolph  as  the  butt  of  his  unscrupulous  sarcasm,  stig- 
matized by  him  as  the  Shin  Piece,  and  almost  universally  known, 
even  now,  and  mentioned  by  that  ludicrous  cognomen. 

I  believe  I  shall  be  speaking  the  sense  of  the  artistical  body, 
and  of  cognoscenti  in  the  United  States,  when  I  say  that  the 
"Declaration  of  Independence"  has  earned  the  respect  of  all, 
the  warm  interest  of  such  as  watch  the  development  of  Ameri- 
can Art,  and  the  admiration  of  those  who  have  tried  their  own 
hand  in  wielding  a  weighty  and  difficult  subject. 

I  admire  in  this  composition  the  skill  with  which  Trumbull 
has  collected  so  many  portraits  in  formal  session,  without  the- 
atrical effort,  in  order  to  enliven  it,  and  without  falling  into  bald 

148       The  Trumbull  Gallery. 

insipidity  by  adherence  to  trivial  fact.  These  men  are  earnest, 
yet  full  of  dignity ;  they  are  firm  yet  cheerful ;  they  are  gentle- 
men ;  and  you  see  at  a  glance  that  they  meant  something  very 
serious  in  pledging  their  lives,  their  fortunes,  and  their  sacred 

The  left  hand  of  the  figure  of  Adams  is  awkwardly  pushed 
forwards.  The  left  arm  of  Mr.  Jefferson  is  singularly  incorrect 
for  so  careful  a  draughtsman  as  Col.  Trumbull.  One  could 
wisli  that  the  lower  limbs  of  Hancock  had  been  made  more 
distinct ;  perhaps  a  slight  enlargement  and  extension  of  the  light 
upon  his  chair,  uniting  with  the  mass  of  light,  would  have 
effected  this  object.  Would  not  the  chair  itself,  in  such  case, 
be  less  a  spot  than  it  now  is  in  the  composition  ? 

Those  who  have  seen  only  the  sortie  of  Gibraltar  and  the 
battle  of  Bunker  Hill,  would  scarcely  believe  that  these  larger 
works  of  the  Capitol  are  of  the  same  hand,  from  their  inferiority 
in  color  and  effect.  They  have  a  chalky  distemper-like  tone, 
which  is  very  unpleasing. 

In  calling  this  picture  the  Shin  Piece,  Mr.  Randolph  accused 
a  defect  of  composition.  If  I  understand  the  gibe,  it  meant 
that  there  was  an  undue  prominence  and  exhibition  of  legs  in 
the  work.  Now,  in  point  of  fact,  this  is  the  last  charge  which 
he  should  have  made ;  nay,  if  Mr.  Randolph  had  any  special 
aversion  for  legs,  he  owed  a  tribute  of  praise  to  the  artist  for 
sparing  him  in  that  regard,  since,  of  more  than  forty  persons 
who  are  there  assembled,  ten  only  show  their  legs.  The  gibe, 
however,  took  with  the  house,  because  the  house  was,  by  its 

The    Trumbull    Gallery.  149 

tedium,  prepared  for  a  laugh,  and  not  prepared  to  do  justice  to 
the  painter. 

The  veteran  artist,  whose  feelings  were  thus  wounded,  was 
but  a  few  feet  distant  from  the  shameless  orator.  He  after- 
wards assured  me,  with  tears  in  his  eyes,  that  up  to  that 
moment  he  had  always  believed  Randolph  his  personal  friend. 
If  those  who  echoed  and  still  echo  that  paltry  jest,  will  look 
carefully  at  the  Declaration  of  Independence,  they  will  see  that 
the  fact  of  those  legs  appearing  in  small-clothes,  no  longer 
familiar  to  the  eye,  calls  attention  to  them  in  an  undue  manner, 
and  they  will  rather  pity  the  spirit  and  the  intelligence  which 
overlooked  this  difficulty,  than  blame  the  painter  for  an  inevita- 
ble consequence  of  the  change  of  fashion. 


Burke  has  developed,  at  length,  the  negative  examination  of 
beauty.  He  arrives  at  no  result  by  this  course,  because  nega- 
tive analysis  can  only  attain  its  object  by  exhausting  negation ; 
which  is  not  possible  in  this  vast  field  of  inquiry. 

When,  at  last,  he  affirms,  he  says  roundly  that  Beauty  is  a 
positive  entity,  cognizable  by  the  sense.  He  proceeds  to  enu- 
merate the  qualities  which,  he  thinks,  constitute  beauty  in  visi- 
ble objects.  He  states  these  as  follows :  Smallness,  Smooth- 
ness, Gradual  Variation,  Delicacy,  Color. 

Smallness. — One  may  well  be  startled  at  the  list  of  positive 
entities  which  commences  with  size,  for  which,  even  in  trade, 
we  have  only  an  approximative  standard.  The  pendulum 
which  beats  seconds  in  a  given  latitude  must  share  the  imper- 
fection of  the  measure  of  time ;  it  must  feel,  more  or  less,  the 
variation  of  temperature  in  its  dimension.  The  bare  element 
of  size  exj)lains  to  me  the  grandeur  of  the  Alp  and  the  Ele- 
phant, the  endearing  dependence  of  the  babe,  and  the  attraction 
of  the  humming-bird  ;  but  the  significance  of  dimension  in  all 
these  cases,  and  in  everv  case  that  I  conceive,  is  a  relative  sig- 

Burke    on    the    Beautiful.  151 

nificance.  When  Burke  found  the  sense  of  the  sublime  to 
result  alike  from  the  contemplation  of  the  orbs  that  roll  in 
space,  and  the  idea  of  beings  that  elude  the  test  of  the  micro- 
scope, I  must  think  that  he  should  have  concluded  that  the 
sublime  is  no  quality  in  things,  having  a  positive  existence,  but 
a  mental  perception  of.  relation. 

Smoothness. — This,  again,  is  a  relative  quality.  The  smooth- 
ness of  the  teeth,  and  of  a  marble  or  porphyry  table,  is  one  ; 
the  smoothness  of  the  eye-ball,  the  brow,  the  cheek  is  an- 
other. If  any  one  doubt  the  organic  significance  of  smoothness, 
let  him  imao-ine  the  smoothness  of  the  teeth  transferred  to  the 
lip,  that  of  the  eye-ball  to  the  eye-lid,  that  of  the  varnished  bud 
of  April  to  the  petal  of  the  rose  in  June,  that  of  the  billiard- 
ball  to  the  hand  of  the  maiden.  Smoothness  is  mere  negation, 
The  smoothness  of  the  eye-ball  is  on  the  one  hand  a  ball  and 
socket  smoothness,  like  that  of  the  head  of  the  femur  and  the 
acetabulum,  a  lubricated  smoothness.  It  is  on  the  other  hand 
a  crystalline  smoothness,  related  to  the  function  of  transmit- 
ting light  and  color.  The  smoothness  of  cutlery,  as  it  comes 
from  the  hand  of  the  artisan,  is  an  organic  smoothness.  The 
perfection  of  the  polish  proclaims  the  entireness  of  the  promise. 
It  begins  to  lose  that  polish  as  soon  as  its  action  commences, 
and  at  last  retains  mainly  the  beauty  of  form.  If  any  one 
doubt  that  the  perception  of  smoothness  is  a  relative  percep- 
tion, let  him,  for  one  minute,  rub  the  palms  of  his  hands  upon 
sandstone,  and  then  rub  them  together. 

Gradual   Variation. — Variation   is  characteristic  of  organic 

152  Burke    ok    the   Beautiful. 

rhythm,  whether  in  the  works  of  nature  or  those  of  man  ;  but 
the  perception  of  gradation  is  the  perception  of  relation,  whether 
the  gradation  be  one  of  size,  or  of  form,  or  of  tint.  To  prove 
gradation  a  positive  element  of  beauty,  it  would  be  necessary 
to  show  that  the  greater  the  gradation,  or  the  greater  the  vari- 
ety of  gradation,  the  greater  would  be  the  beauty,  an  assertion 
to  be  easily  estimated  after  a  glance  at  the  human  eye. 

Delicacy. — By  delicacy,  as  an  element  of  beauty,  Burke  is 
careful  to  tell  us  that  he  does  not  mean  weakness,  or  any  modi- 
fication in  the  direction  of  weakness,  but  only  the  absence  of 
roughness  and  excessive  robustness.  Now,  it  is  not  apparent 
that  he  means  anything  more,  by  this  quality,  than  a  normal 
and  healthy  apportionment  of  means  to  ends ;  if  he  does,  then 
has  he  foisted  into  the  academy  the  taste  of  the  boudoir  and 
the  drawing-room,  which  can  only  earn  respect  there  as  a  pupil. 
His  delicacy  in  such  case  must  share  the  fate  of  Hogarth's 
"  grandeur  of  the  periwig"  and  be  the  creature,  of  convention — 
ridiculous,  except  in  the  time,  place,  and  circumstances  that 
gave  its  value. 

If  you  can  establish  the  opinion  that  ladies  should  hobble 
about  with  difficulty,  the  crippled  foot  would  please  our  eyes, 
as  it  is  said  to  charm  those  of  the  Mandarin.  If  you  can  prove 
that  the  human  hand  was  intended  as  a  proclamation  of  idle- 
ness and  effeminacy,  the  nauseous  claws  seen  in  the  east,  and 
sometimes  cultivated  by  persons  in  civilized  countries,  will  have 
a  suggestive  charm. 

Color. — That  the  modifications  of  light  have  an  organic 

Burke    on    the    Beautiful.  153 

significance  and  are  not  positive  elements  of  beauty,  results  to 
my  mind  from  the  fact  that  there  is  a  degree  of  light  which  sur- 
feits, a  want  of  it  which  starves  the  visual  organ.  The  absence 
of  color  in  the  teeth  is  as  beautiful  as  its  presence  in  the  lips. 
The  contrast  of  the  two  heightens  each,  and  exemplifies  a 
charm  where  gradual  variation  has  no  place.  Now  its  absence 
in  the  one  case  and  the  presence  in  the  other  has  an  organic 
and  functional  import  and  meaning.  The  dark  polish  of  ice 
and  the  pure  white  of  snow  are  alike  mechanical  defences  of 
the  permanence  of  these  forms  of  water. 

I  think  it  of  the  highest  importance  that  we  continue  the 
investigation  of  the  functional  significance  of  color,  rather  than 
close  the  school  with  an  anodyne  formula,  because  whether  the 
eye  be  adapted  to  objects  in  nature,  or  these  to  the  eye,  true  it 
is  that  the  relation  is  a  vital  one.  I  will  be  rash  enough  to 
confess,  that  I  have  an  instinctive  belief,  that  the  eye  is,  under 
God,  the  creature  of  the  sun  ;  for  I  find  it  made  in  his  own 
image,  and  I  seek  it  in  vain  in  such  fishes,  for  instance,  as 
know  him  not. 

In  order  to  prove  that  beauty  consists  of  positive  elements, 
cognizable  by  the  sense,  I  think  it  must  be  shown,  that  the 
beauty  is  in  proportion  to  the  presence  of  the  elements,  and  that 
where  these  elements  are  diminished  or  suppressed  for  the  sake 
of  function,  beauty  shall  be  diminished  in  proportion  to  their 
absence.  Now  this  may  be  done  to  the  satisfaction  of  the  milli- 
ner or  the  "  petite  maitresse"  but  never  to  the  satisfaction  of  the 
philosopher  or  the  artist. 

154  Burke    on    the    Beautiful. 

Burke  was  bold  when  he  invited  the  world  to  a  feast  of 
beauty,  with  so  meagre  a  bill  of  fare.  With  the  exception  of 
delicacy,  by  which  I  know  not  what  he  means,  in  philosophy,  I 
believe  that  all  the  other  elements  he  has  mentioned  can  be 
exemplified  and  even  combined  into  the  most  sickening  mani- 
festation of  morbid  action.  Skin  disease  and  imposthume  will 
display  them  all,  and  force  the  student  to  go  farther  for  the 
secret  of  beauty,  even  at  the  risk  of  faring  worse. 

It  is  natural  to  suppose  that  the  soul  of  any  civilization  will 
find  utterance  in  its  statement  of  what  its  love  is  and  should  be. 
Have  not  theories  of  beauty  been  invented  to  fit  "  spoon 
fashion  "  certain  systems  of  politics  and  morals  ?  Is  it  not  from 
an  unconscious  desire  to  constitute  and  limit  the  good  that  we 
seek  the  good  with  such  starveling  formulas  ?  I  believe  the 
Beautiful  to  be  the  promise  and  announcement  of  the  good  ;  to 
seek  the  semblance  thereof,  rather  than  the  true,  has  been,  is, 
and  must  be  the  occupation  of  such  as  seek  the  beautiful  only 
in  pursuit  of  the  good. 

He  who  seeks  the  beautiful  in  the  stupendous  system  of 
nature,  will  seek  in  vain  for  a  positive  entity,  whose  elements, 
cognizable  by  sense,  can  be  set  down  like  the  ingredients  of  a 
dish,  or  the  inventory  of  a  portmanteau.  I  doubt  if  he  ever 
find  anything  more  tangible  than  the  human  soul ;  if  he  does 
I  will  venture  to  predict  that  it  will  be  somewhat  more  than 
small,  smooth,  gradually  varied,  delicate,  and  of  pleasing  color. 

To  the  generality  of  men  the  sight  of  a  skull,  whether  of 
man  or  beast,  is  rather  painful.     They  view  it  in  relation  to 

Burke    on    the    Beautiful.  ]55 

disorganization,  of  which  we  all  have  an  instinctive  horror. 
Why,  then,  to  the  anatomist  and  the  artist  is  the  skull  a  beau- 
tiful, a  sublime  object  ?  Because  they  have  minutely  investi- 
gated its  relation  to  life.  All  its  forms,  surfaces,  and  dimen- 
sions speak  of  its  former  contents,  vesture,  and  capacities.  That 
pale  spheroidal  dome  is  a  model  of  the  globe,  those  lack-lustre 
eyeless  holes  beneath,  speak  of  the  heavens ;  they  echo  the  dis- 
tant sun. 

Why,  in  the  crowded  thoroughfare,  do  we  pass  nine  men  in 
ten  without  emotion,  and  as  if  they  were  not  ?  Why  are  we 
so  patiently  incurious  respecting  the  myriads  of  human  beings 
who  have  laid  the  basis  of  our  actual  being  ?  Why  in  the 
first  sight  of  a  foreign  city,  whose  language  is  as  unknown  to 
us  as  its  streets,  does  the  heart  shrink  back  on  itself?  Why, 
in  such  position,  does  the  coin  in  our  pockets  assume  an  im- 
portance unfelt  before?  In  all  cases  because  of  relation.  This 
it  is  that  makes  the  Austrian  prince*  spurn,  as  less  than  man, 
all  beneath  the  barons.  This  it  is  which  melts  the  divine 
Saviour  into  tenderness  at  the  sight  of  sin  and  sorrow.  The 
positive  sound  of  cannon  is  not  much  ;  it  is  relation  that  makes 
the  growl  of  the  morning  gun  at  Gibraltar  the  voice  of  the 
British  lion,  and,  therefore,  does  the  responsive  thunder  of 
Ceuta  sound  a  good  morrow  from  the  African  shore.  When, 
in  the  breathless  court,  the  word  "guilty"  drops  from  the  lips 
of  the  foreman,  why  does  it  ring  satisfaction  to  the  ear  of  the 

*  Der  Menscli  feengt  mit  dem  Baron  an. — Dictum  of  "Windischgratz. 

156  Burke    on    the    Beautiful. 

stern  attorney,  and  for  the  prisoner  at  the  bar  strike  the  larum 
of  despair  ?  It  is  the  relative  import  of  things  that  character- 
izes their  perception,  and  that  with  which  we  have  no  relation, 
for  us  is  not. 

With  what  positive  result  do  we,  then,  close  this  review  of 
Mr.  Burke's  position  ?  With  a  conviction  which,  if  it  be  well 
grounded,  is  not  only  of  artistic  but  of  general  importance.  In  a 
world  of  dependence  and  of  relation  to  a  being  like  man,  whose 
isolated  mind  collapses  to  idiocy,  whose  isolated  body  is  the 
slave  of  its  lower  want,  that  which  is  fitted  to  one  relation  is 
therefore  unfitted  for  another  and  different  relation.  That  which 
is  beautiful  in  one  connexion  is  therefore  deformed  in  another 
and  different  connexion.  To  deal  with  relative  elements,  as  if 
they  were  positive,  is  to  insure  discord  and  disorganization — for 
as  the  charm  of  rhyme  resides  not  in  "  dove"  or  "  love,"  but  in 
the  perception  of  the  dependence  of  sound, — as  the  charm  of 
verse  lies  not  in  its  positive  structure,  but  in  the  relation  it  bears 
to  the  thought,  and  the  breath  that  makes  it  heard,  so  has  all 
that  sways  the  mind,  the  heart,  the  sense  of  man,  only  a  rela- 
tive and  dependent  being. 

The  entire  gamut  of  visual  qualities  in  objects,  is,  therefore, 
a  language,  a  tongue,  whose  vocabulary  must  be  learned,  word 
by  word,  and  which  has  already  been  mastered  to  an  extent 
that  justifies  the  surmise,  that  its  elements  have  force  from  their 
relation,  and  not  from  positive  existence;  since  God  alone 
truly  is. 


To  many  minds  the  definition  of  Beauty  as  the  promise  of 
function,  must  appear  an  excessive  generalization.  To  many 
minds  such  expanse  dilutes  all  substance,  and  leaves  but  their 
air  as  a  result.  Yet  is  this  generalization  but  an  effort  to 
grasp  a  wider  collection  of  phenomena,  and,  if  developed,  it  is 
not  certain  that  it  will  prove  other  than  a  step  to  a  wider  and 
a  higher  generalization. 

Hogarth's  ingenious  plea  for  his  line  of  beauty,  holds  good 
with  regard  to  the  spinal  column  and  the  necks  of  long  necked 
birds  and  beasts.  It  is  the  line  of  moving  water,  of  flowing 
draperies,  and  of  many  pleasing  vegetable  forms,  but  if  we 
drop  from  the  flank  of  the  horse  where  we  find  it,  to  the  shank 
which  is  thin,  straight,  and  hard,  we  get  a  new  sense  of 
beauty,  and  not  a  sacrifice  thereof.  With  Hogarth's  formula  in 
hand  we  must  accept  the  vagaries  of  Bernini,  and  condemn  the 
Greek  peristyle  and  pediment.  This  famed  line  is  truly  in- 
dicative of  motion,  of  the  double  element  of  inertia  or  resist- 
ance on  the  one  hand,  and  of  a  moving  power  on  the  other. 
From  its  inevitable  significance  and  uniformity  of  expression,  it 

158    Criticism   in    Search    of    Beauty. 

becomes  monotonous  by  repetition,  incongruous  and  imperti- 
nent wherever  such  double  action  is  out  of  place.  Transfer  the 
waving  line  of  a  horse's  flank  to  his  metatarsal  bone,  and  you 
have  a  cripple.  Transfer  the  double  curve  of  a  swan's  neck  to 
his  bill,  and  you  have  an  impotent  and  therefore  ridiculous 

The  right  line  is  perhaps  susceptible  of  more  various  signi- 
ficance than  any  other  line  whatever.  The  right  line  vertical, 
as  seen  in  the  pendent  chain,  is  indicative  of  utter  flexibility  ;  in 
the  staff  whose  base  is  buried,  of  stark  rigidity.  Horizontal,  it 
proclaims  equal  support  throughout  its  length,  whether  from 
its  own  consistence  or  from  extraneous  prop.  Inclined,  it  de- 
clares a  double  thrust  in  opposite  directions.  Observe  the 
folds  of  linen  that  drop,  like  organ  pipes,  from  the  girdle  of 
Pallas;  transfer  your  eye  to  yonder  spear  on  which  Adonis 
leans ;  remark  how  nearly  identical  are  the  forms,  how  directly 
reversed  is  the  expression  of  these  cylindrical  shapes !  Such 
forms  have  therefore  a  force  and  a.  speech  analogous  to  the 
virtues  of  the  vocabulary.  Their  significance  is  relative  and 
dependent.     They  may  not  be  safely  used  as  positive  entities. 

Let  us  dwell,  for  a  moment,  upon  one  of  the  chief  means  of 
embellishment,  the  adoption  of  the  sequence  and  rhythm  of 
organization,  as  an  sesthetical  element  of  positive  import,  apart 
from  all  requirement,  save  the  craving  of  the  eye.  The  leaf, 
the  flower,  the  chain — the  contorted  spiral  of  the  cable,  the 
alternations  of  the  woven  withe  of  the  basket,  have,  among 
other  similar  functional  arrangements,  been  pressed  into  the 

Criticism    in    Search    op    Beauty.    159 

service  of  the  decorator,  to  fill  that  vacuum  which  the  heart 
of  man  abhors.  The  eye  responds  inevitably  to  the  sensuous 
charm,  and  the  associated  expression  of  these  forms ;  but,  if 
we  reflect  deeply  on  the  source  of  this  gratification,  we  shall 
detect  their  real  character.  Thus  enjoyed,  this  rhythm  is  never 
truly  generative ; — for,  if  the  organizations  they  were  intended 
to  complete,  had  no  requirement  of  their  oivn,  whose  spaces 
and  means  have  been  usurped  by  their  quotations,  then  I  affirm 
that  these  extraneous  and  irrelevant  forms  invade  that  silence 
which  alone  is  worthy  of  man,  when  there  is  nothing  to  be 
said.  To  my  sense,  therefore,  these  forms  only  accuse  a  vacuum. 
They  accuse  it  credibly,  and  the  eye  assents  to  them ;  but 
though  they  accuse  they  do  not  Jill  it,  since  the  more  we  get 
of  them  the  more  we  ask,  until  performance  reels  and  slavery  dies, 
under  the  requirement.  Such  is  the  result  of  dealing  with 
the  relative  and  finite,  as  if  it  were  a  positive,  a  divine  being. 

What  is  the  real  meaning  of  that  vast  aggregation  of  mar- 
ble and  gilding — of  silks  and  jewels,  of  glass  and  metal,  of 
carved  and  painted  embellishment  which  is  called  St.  Peter's 
church  ?  Throwing  and  holding  aloft  the  gilded  symbol  of 
self-sacrifice  and  love  to  man,  whose  glimmer  flashes  on  the 
one  hand  to  the  gulf  of  Geneva,  on  the  other  to  the  waves  of 
the  Adriatic,  is  it  not  a  giant's  attempt  to  scale  the  heavens? 
— the  affirmation  of  the  positive  in  the  relative — a  mechanical 
assertion  of  spirit — an  attempt  at  arithmetical  demonstration 
that  Christ's  kingdom  is  of  this  world  ?  When,  amid  the 
gorgeous   retinue   of  bedizened   prelates,   the   triple   crowned 

160    Criticism    in    Search    of    Beauty. 

Pontiff,  crippled  by  weight  of  frippery,  is  borne  on  subject 
shoulders  to  that  balcony,  when  the  peacocks'  tails  are  waved 
about  his  head,  and  he  utters  his  presumptuous  blessing, 
"  Urbi  et  Orbi," — while  kneeling  troops  clash  their  weapons  as 
they  go  down,  and  trumpets  laugh  and  cannons  thunder  from 
the  fortress  of  the  Holy  Angel ; — when  the  sense  and  the 
imagination  is  thus  appealed  to  in  base  assertion,  what  is  the 
practical  result  ?  What  are  the  fruits,  by  which  alone  this 
tree  must  at  last  be  judged  ?  The  perfumed  sweetness  of  that 
vast  pile  hath  cured  no  yellow  and  swollen  victim  of  Pontine 
miasma.  The  weight  of  that  expenditure  hath  crushed  to 
earth  the  denizens  of  the  patrimony  of  St.  Peter ;  since  Mary 
must  bring  daily  the  precious  ointment  for  a  Christ  who  is 
always  with  us ;  and  whose  worldly  pomp  outvies  the  arro- 
gance of  kings.  For  each  effeminate  warbling  of  soprano 
Latin  praise  to  God  in  the  temple,  there  go  up  a  thousand 
curses  of  tyrants,  in  the  vernacular,  from  the  thoroughfare, 
the  hovel,  and  the  dungeon.  When  was  the  absolute  other 
than  the  paramour  of  the  expedient  ?  Would  the  papal  cross 
at  this  moment  stand  but  for  the  piled  dollars  of  the  Israelite 
where  it  has  been  pawned  ? 

To  what,  at  length,  is  the  size  of  St.  Peter's  church  related  ? 
Is  it  a  lodging  for  prayer  ?  Christ  has  recommended  a  closet. 
Is  it  to  receive  the  laity  of  the  earth  ?  All  earth  is  a  temple  to 
him  who  looks  upward,  and  naught  less  will  suffice  for  man. 
The  size  of  St.  Peter's  church  is,  therefore,  a  pretension.  It 
affirms  of  the   tree  its  1  its  soil,  and  its  branches  ;   and 

Criticism    in    Search    of    Beauty.    161 

these  it  measures.  As  a  result  of  nearly  two  thousand  years, 
preaching  of  the  doctrine  of  self-sacrifice  and  the  laying  up  of 
treasure  in  Heaven,  it  is  a  reductio  ad  absurdum. 

Criticism  has  shaped  another  theory  of  Beauty.  The 
beautiful  has  been  defined  as  a  result  of  the  combination  of 
Uniformity  with  Variety.  This  combination  is  indeed  uni- 
versally found  in  organization,  whether  in  the  works  of  nature 
or  of  man ;  but  the  theory  asserts  too  much,  since,  if  true, 
beauty  can  be  produced  by  mere  mechanical  means,  and 
England  would  make  it  with  steam  power,  and  flood  the  globe 
therewith.  This  theory  is  sustained  in  the  hope  of  divorcing 
the  beautiful  and  the  good.  It  is  sustained  in  the  hope  of 
giving  the  former  and  receiving  the  latter.  The  sensuous 
adjunct  of  intention,  when  divorced  from  that  intention,  loses 
at  once  its  virtue,  and  retains  its  charm  only  so  long  as  its 
emptiness  is  unsuspected.  The  smile  of  benevolence  may  be 
assumed  also,  and  may  pass  currently  with  the  world,  but  if  too 
many  practise  this  beautiful  art,  frowns  will  at  last  come  to  be 
in  fashion. 

"When  Homer  would  give  us  the  idea  of  womanly  charm  in 
Helen,  he  seeks  no  positive  ingredients  to  wake  our  enthusiasm. 
He  makes  the  princess  to  pass  through  a  crowd  of  aged  men, 
who  are  reviling  her  as  the  cause  of  their  woe,  and  at  her  aspect 
they  are  hushed  in  mute  admiration.  "When  she  has  passed 
away,  they  swear  with  one  accord  that  such  a  vision  is  worth 
the  ten  years'  war,  and  the  burning  of  the  ships  and  the  slaugh- 
ter of  the  men.     Achilles,  who  remains  in  every  scholar's  mind 


162    Criticism    in    Search    of    Beauty. 

the  type  of  manly  beauty,  is  painted  as  swift  of  foot,  and  the 
most  beautiful  of  all  the  Greeks  who  went  to  Troy.  These 
beauties,  then,  have  been  created  by  relation  in  our  own  minds, 
and  we  have  done  the  work  with  the  bard  ;  and  it  is  because 
that  work  is  a  delight  that  we  love  him.  If  criticism  had  other 
than  a  negative  power  we  might  reproduce  the  phenomena  of 
a  Shakspeare  or  a  Dante.  It  is  because  the  speech  of  these 
men  is  inalienably  theirs,  related  more  to  themselves  than  to 
the  positive,  that  we  may  hope  to  approach  the  latter  rather 
than  to  repeat  them. 

The  creation  of  beauty  in  art,  as  in  other  forms  of  poetry,  is 
a  welling  up  from  the  depths  of  the  soul,  not  a  scientific  syn- 
thesis. There  has  been  in  England,  since  1815,  more  discussion 
of  sesthetical  doctrine,  more  analysis,  experiment,  and  dogged 
determination  to  effect  somewhat  in  art,  than  attended  the 
birth  of  the  Florentine  school ;  but  always  in  the  main  impo- 
tent, because  the  governing  intellect  of  England  has  held  art  to 
be  a  thing,  a  plant  growing  by  human  knowledge  with  gold 
for  its  nutriment.  Art  is  not  a  thing,  but  a  form,  a  develop- 
ment of  man — "La  vostra  Arte  quasi  di  Dio  e  nipote."  The 
artistic  power,  whatever  it  be,  has  no  positive  existence.  Like 
the  organ  in  our  churches,  on  week-days,  it  stands  dumb  and 
dead  till  the  constituency  drive  through  its  pipes  the  health  of 
life,  and  minister  to  its  requirement. 

I  will  seek  to  make  clearer  what  I  have  said  by  a  rapid 
glance  at  the  career  of  pictorial  art.  In  the  great  works  of  the 
Roman  and  Florentine  schools  we  behold  the  highest  develop- 

Criticism    in    Search    of    Beauty.    163 

ment  of  thought  and  feeling  in  the  pictorial  form.  These  great 
masters  always  based  their  creations  upon  tangible,  palpable, 
every-day  truth.  The  mother  bears  her  babe,  the  Saviour 
embraces  his  cross.  The  heavens,  as  they  open,  reflect  earth, 
and  worship  the  Deity  with  words  of  human  speech.  Titian, 
in  his  color,  is  not  less  true  to  the  concrete.  As  art  declined, 
we  find  the  process  to  be  one  of  separating  the  sensuously 
pleasing  from  its  organic  relation ;  till,  in  Luca  Giordano  and 
Boucher,  we  find  a  chaos  of  bombast,  falsehood,  and  clogging 
sensuality.  This  farrago  corrupted  still  further  the  appetite 
that  demanded  it,  and  Boucher  had  for  a  successor  a  worse  than 
Boucher,  till  utter  impotence  gave  at  length  silence  and  repose. 
There  is  a  sensation  analogous  to  the  sense  of  beauty,  which 
is  effected  somewhat  independent  of  function,  nay  running 
oftentimes  counter  to  the  requirement  of  function.  This  is  the 
offspring  of  the  fashion,  the  mode,  omnipotent  for  an  hour, 
contemptible  when  that  hour  is  passed.  I  have  yet  to  see  any 
solid  reason  for  receiving  nine-tenths  of  the  architectural  fea- 
tures of  our  actual  structures  as  other  than  a  servile  obeisance 
to  this  despotic  requirement  from  abroad.  He  whose  eye  is 
tickled  by  the  play  of  light  and  shadow,  and  the  merely  pictur- 
esque projections  of  the  present  fashion,  will  be  inclined  to 
flout  me  when  I  hint  that  these  are  a  jargon  and  no  tongue. 
Their  features,  which  seem  of  such  significance,  will,  however, 
inevitably  turn  out,  at  last,  like  the  cant  phrases  of  the  rabble, 
to  mean  whatever  you  please,  merely  because  they  mean 
nothing.     Once  adopt  the  principles  by  which  alone  they  can 

] 64    Criticism    in    Search    op    Beauty. 

be  defended,  and  there  is  no  bar  between  you  and  the  prolific 
silliness  of  Borromini,  excepting  the  want  of  funds.  These 
feats  have  effected  what  I  once  believed  impossible ;  they  have 
made  the  sober  and  the  true  enamored  of  the  old,  bald,  neutral- 
toned,  Yankee  farm  house  which  seems  to  belong  to  the  ground 
whereon  it  stands,  as  the  caterpillar  to  the  leaf  that  feeds  him. 
The  expression  of  life,  which  is  what  we  all  crave,  can  only 
be  obtained  by  living.  I  have  seen  a  clergyman  of  the  esta- 
blished church,  who  long  appeared  to  me  an  overgrown  auto- 
maton, in  which  the  digestive  apparatus  was  exaggerated.  He 
was  an  incarnation  of  vicarious  being.  He  seemed  to  have 
been  taken  into  the  world  and  done  for.  Inoffensive  was  he — 
well-begotten  and  respectable ;  for  he  had  been  educated  among 
scholars — dressed  by  a  tailor,  and  dressed  well — shaved  by  a 
barber,  and  well  shorn — insured  by  a  solvent  company  here 
below — saved  by  his  Saviour  in  the  world  to  come,  so  that  one 
saw  no  obstacle  to  his  translation  to  another  sphere  except  his 
weight.  Yet  was  all  this  only  apparent,  for  no  sooner  was  a 
trout  stream  mentioned  than  the  kaleidoscope  revolved,  the  fog 
rolled  from  before  his  eyes,  and  he  became  animated  and  alert. 
There  was  after  all  an  agendum.  Now  it  is  clear  that  this  man 
was  a  crushed  individuality,  born  out  of  time  or  place.  Like 
the  potato  which  has  sprouted  in  the  crypt,  this  poor  soul  had 
sent  its  pale  elongated  shoot  through  darkness  and  prohibition, 
till  it  found  the  light  and  air  of  freedom  at  a  cranny,  when  it 
instantly  assumed  its  color,  threw  out  its  leaves  and  was — a 
human  otter. 

Criticism    in    Search    of    Beauty.    165 

If  it  were  true  that  the  sense  of  beauty  in  nature  and  in  art 
finds  its  nourishment  in  the  pleasing,  independent  of  other  than 
its  own  relation  to  the  innate  craving  of  man ;  if  it  were  true 
that  beauty  is  a  tertium  quid  thrown  into  ingredients  in  them- 
selves indifferent,  to  fill  a  psychological  vacuum, — as  salt  and 
sugar  are  added  to  compounds  which  offend  through  acid  or 
pall  by  insipidity,  then  should  we  behold  professors  of  beauty, 
who  would  translate  into  the  vulgar  tongue  what  Mahomet 
meant  by  his  houris,  what  the  Northmen  meant  by  drinking 
beer  in  skulls,  what  the  Indian  meant  by  his  happy  hunting 
grounds,  what  the  Christian  preacher  means  by  that  which 
"  eye  hath  not  seen  nor  ear  heard  V  The  man  possessed  of 
this  catholicon  would  be  able  to  adorn  and  sanctify  the  hum- 
blest, the  most  repulsive  details  of  life.  These  details  are,  in 
fact,  adorned  and  sanctified  to  man — not  by  any  combination 
of  uniformity  with  variety,  or  waving  line,  or  other  like  futile 
mechanical  grasp  at  the  unspeakable,  but  by  their  relation  to 
"  things  hoped  for" 

The  men  who,  in  Greece  and  Italy,  earned  a  remembrance  as 
creators  of  the  beautiful,  were  most  untiring  students  of  organi- 
zation, of  the  relations  of  antecedence  and  consequence.  More 
has  been  said  about  the  art  of  pleasing  by  ingenious  English- 
men and  Frenchmen  than  can  be  found  in  all  the  disquisitions 
of  Leonardo,  or  Leon  Batista,  Alberti,  or  Raffaello.  How  does 
he  of  Urbino,  who  has  held  the  world  captive,  define  the  beau- 
tiful which  was  his  magic  sceptre  ?     He  says,  in  plain  words, 

166    Criticism    in    Search    of    Beauty. 

that  it  was  a  "  certa  idea  che  ho  nella  mente,"  a  certain  idea 
that  I  have  in  my  mind. 

The  skilful  analysis  of  the  relations  of  color  and  sound  in 
their  modifications,  to  the  rhythm  of  organization,  tending 
without  doubt  to  assist  our  conception  of  all  related  things,  is 
but  the  servant  and  never  the  master  of  creative  mind.  Deal- 
ing with  such  elements  only  as  the  reason  has  incarnated  in 
propositions,  they  have  in  that  incarnation  dropped  all  divinity 
which  is  unspeakable,  and  have  taken  their  humble  place  among 
things.  Such  results  are  but  the  record  of  a  mental,  as  the  foot- 
print of  man  is  the  record  of  a  physical  function,  proclaiming, 
it  is  true,  the  beauty  of  the  related  parts  which  achieved  the 
step,  but  impotent  as  a  creative  power.  As  well  may  you  hope 
to  beget  eloquence  of  pure  grammar,  as  music  of  science,  or 
beautv  of  things. 

Organization  and  dissolution  ;  these  are  the  two  poles  of  the 
divine  magnet,  and  to  the  pure  intelligence  the  one  is  as  har- 
monious a  speech  as  the  other,  since  it  is  its  correlative.  That 
the  sense  revolts  at  the  phenomena  of  disorganization  proves 
only  the  relation  of  the  body  to  things  ;  but  that  relation  being 
a  divine  datum,  the  marriage  of  the  sensuous  phenomena  of  life 
to  the  action  of  decay,  cannot  be  other  than  poisonous  and 

Is  the  display  which  has  lantern-led  princes  and  people 
other  than  a  rhythm  of  disorganization  sensuously  enjoyed 
because  its  functional  significance  was  not  apparent?  If  the 
moral    and    political    phenomena    attendant    upon   vigorous 

Criticism    in    Search    of    Beauty.    167 

attempts  after  beauty,  independent  of  function,  had  not  been 
constant  and  unvarying,  I  should  doubt  any  mental  induction 
that  accused  such  import  in  adornment.  Luxury  and  decay 
have  not  been  separated,  and  the  only  terms  on  which  both  can 
be  long  kept  up,  is  to  regard  the  crucified  homo  as  a  symbol 
of  collective  man  made  the  grovelling  basis  of  exceptional 
development  and  well-being. 

Whence  is  derived  the  attraction  of  the  play-house  and  the 
opera  ?  I  believe  that  these  fruits  of  civilization  are  pleasing, 
but,  to  the  mass,  sensuous  special  pleadings  against  the  dogma 
which,  condemning  the  body,  commands  us  to  perish.  Feeling 
a  void  in  our  hearts,  amid  the  negative  requirements  of  the  law- 
giver and  the  priest,  we  ask  the  spectacle  at  least  of  untram- 
melled life,  and  hire  the  dancing  girl  to  give  a  vicarious  grace 
and  joy,  driven  from  among  us  by  a  sour  and  one-sided  dogma. 
Now,  it  will  be  apparent  to  reflection  and  to  the  heart,  that  the 
dancing  girl  is  degraded  by  representing  a  fraction  of  huma- 
nity. The  greater  her  beauty,  the  more  perfect  the  response  of 
her  limbs  and  the  vivacity  of  her  foot  to  the  joyous  notes  of 
the  composer,  the  greater  the  degradation.  That  divine  instru- 
ment before  us  is  the  representative  of  womanhood,  and  is 
degraded  by  aught  less  than  true  woman's  life.  Not  with 
impunity,  therefore,  shall  we  gaze  upon  her  in  that  monstrous 
relation,  for,  though  we  may  forget  it,  yet  is  she  nevertheless  our 
sister.  There  is  here  a  sin,  and  a  grievous  sin — not  in  the  light 
of  that  eve  that  flashes,  not  in  the  music  of  that  frame  that 
takes  captive  the  sense,  not  in  the  panting  of  that,  perhaps, 

168    Criticism    in    Search    of    Beauty. 

virgin  bosom,  but  in  the  hireling  divorce  of  these  phenomena 
from  their  normal  and  organic  sequence  in  human  life.  There 
lies  the  prostitution — there  the  selfishness  and  the  vice,  and 
therefore  the  destruction. 

The  East  Indian  bigot  who  seeks  to  please  God  by  main- 
taining one  posture  till  the  articulations  have  stiffened  him  to  a 
monument  of  monomania  and  the  paid  exponent  of  youthful 
joy  and  desire — these  are  extreme  expressions  of  a  prohibition 
to  live.  As  the  one  kills  by  checking  function,  so  the  other 
destroys  by  the  inculcation  of  vicarious  life.  I  will  close  this 
statement  by  an  affirmation  which  formerly  could  not  have 
been  spoken  without  perishing  in  the  flames ;  and  which,  even 
now,  cannot  perhaps  be  spoken  with  impunity.  That  which 
the  human  being  was  made  to  bear,  the  human  being  was  not 
made  to  bear  the  want  of. 

To  follow  blindly  the  dictates  of  sense  and  instinctive  crav- 
ing— that  is,  to  be  a  brute  and  not  a  man  ;  to  deny  the  prompt- 
ings of  sense  and  instinctive  craving,  that  is  to  perish.  Behold 
the  absolute.  Between  these  lies  human  life — an  existence  for 
which  no  revelation  will  ever  afford  a  mechanical  rule  or  abso- 
lute dogma,  without  its  immediate  translation  from  time  to 
eternity ;  for  to  seek  the  true — this  is  truly  to  live  in  time 
which  only  is  through  succession  of  phenomena  to  find  it — 
this  will  be  to  repose  in  the  bosom  of  omniscience,  for  where 
all  is  absolutely  right  nothing  can  change.  Since  truth  is  not 
a  series  of  approximations,  but  an  arrival  and  a  result. 

Therefore  do  I  feel  that  this  American  people  is  the  advanced 

Criticism    in    Search    of    Beauty.    169 

guard  of  humanity.  Because  it  is  one  vast  interrogation. 
Never  affirming  but  when  there  is  need  of  action  ;  in  its  affirm- 
ation conceding  that  the  minority  represents  a  sacred  human 
want  not  yet  articulate  to  the  aggregate  ear ;  it  gives  peace 
and  good  will  in  proportion  to  the  universality  of  the  wants  to 
which  it  ministers.  If  the  passion  displayed  in  the  alternation 
of  hope  and  fear  fright  the  timid  and  skeptical,  the  lull  of  the 
storm,  when  the  sovereignty  has  spoken,  is  full  of  hope  for  a 
distant  futurity,  for  it  proves  that  our  political  constitution,  like 
the  human  frame,  is  not  less  wonderfully  than  fearfully  made, 


It  is  useless  to  regret  that  discussions  of  principle  involve,  to  a 
certain  extent,  persons  also.  If  this  were  not,  on  the  whole,  a 
-good  arrangement,  principles  would  have  been  furnished  with 
a  better  lodging.  I  take  it,  that  passions  and  interests  are  the 
great  movers  and  steadiers  of  the  social  world,  and  that  prin- 
ciples, like  the  bread  on  Sir  John  Falstaff's  score,  are  an  uncon- 
scionably small  item. 

The  working  forces  and  restraints  are,  like  the  furnaces  and 
engines,  the  lock  up  and  lock  out  of  the  mint  at  Philadelphia, 
all  very  effective  for  their  objects.  A  showy  front  masks  all 
these  things,  and  adorns  Chesnut  street  by  the  maimed  quota- 
tion of  a  passage  of  Greek  eloquence,  relating  to  something 
else.  A  huge  brick  chimney  rising  in  the  rear,  talks  English, 
and  warns  you  that  the  facade  is  to  be  taken  with  some  grains 
of  allowance. 

The  domain  of  Taste  is  eminently  one  of  free  discussion.  In 
most  civilized  countries,  the  individual  is  restrained  by  the 
magistracy  from  offending  the  public  eye,  by  unsightly  or  ill- 
timed  exhibitions  of  any  very  peculiar  dogma  of  his  own, 

Structure    and    Organization.      171 

because  it  is  thought  that  the  harm  thus  done  to  the  public  is 
not  compensated  by  the  gratification  of  the  unit.  Still,  he  is 
allowed  to  maintain  his  theory  by  any  means  short  of  an  inva- 
sion of  the  public  sense  of  propriety. 

One  unaccustomed  to  trace  the  influence  of  associated  ideas, 
of  example,  and  of  authority,  would  naturally  suppose  that 
each  climate,  each  creed  and  form  of  Government,  would  stamp 
its  character  readily  and  indelibly  upon  the  structures  of  a 
thinking  population.  It  is  not  so.  It  is  only  by  degrees  that 
leisure  and  wealth  find  means  to  adapt  forms,  elsewhere  invented, 
to  new  situations  and  new  wants. 

When  civilization  gradually  developes  an  indigenous  type, 
the  complex  result  still  carries  the  visible  germ  whence  it 
sprang.  The  harmony  of  the  Chinese  structures  indicates  a 
oneness  of  origin  and  modification.  The  sign-manual  of  the 
Sultan  is  but  the  old  mark  pompously  flourished.  There  is  a 
blood-relationship  between  the  pipe  of  the  North  American 
savage  and  the  temples  of  Central  America. 

In  the  architecture  of  Greece,  of  Italy,  and  of  the  more  recent 
civilizations  on  the  other  hand,  we  remark  a  struggle  between 
an  indigenous  type,  born  of  the  soil  and  of  the  earlier  wants  of 
a  people,  and  an  imported  theory  which,  standing  upon  a 
higher  artistic  ground,  captivates  the  eye  and  wins  the  approval 
of  dawning  taste.  If  my  limits  permitted,  it  were  not  amiss  to 
trace  this  conquest  of  refinement,  and  to  follow  it  out  also,  in 
relation  to  literature,  and  to  dress,  and  amusements.  The  least 
effort  of  memory  will  suggest  numerous  invasions  of  artistic 

172      Structure    and    Organization. 

theory  upon  primitive  expedients,  conflicts  between  the  home- 
grown habit  which  has  possession,  and  exotic  theory  wrhich 
seeks  it. 

There  is  one  feature  in  all  the  great  developments  of  archi- 
tecture which  is  worthy  to  occupy  us  for  a  moment.  They  are 
all  fruits  of  a  dominating  creed.  If  we  consider  how  vast  was 
the  outlay  they  required,  we  shall  not  wonder  that  religion 
alone  has  thus  far  been  able  to  unite,  in  a  manner  to  wield 
them,  the  motives  and  the  means  for  grand  and  consistent 
systems  of  structure.  The  magnificence  of  the  Romans,  the 
splendor  of  Venice  and  Genoa,  like  the  ambitious  efforts  of 
France,  England,  and  Germany  in  more  recent  days,  had  a  cer- 
tain taint  of  dilettantism  in  their  origin,  which,  aiming  to  com- 
bine inconsistent  qualities,  and  that  for  a  comparatively  low 
motive,  carried  through  all  their  happiest  combinations  the 
original  sin  of  impotence,  and  gave  as  a  result,  bombast  instead 
of  eloquence,  fritter  instead  of  richness,  boldness  for  simplicity, 
carving  in  lieu  of  sculpture.  The  laws  of  expression  are  such 
that  the  various  combinations  which  have  sought  to  lodge 
modern  functions  in  buildings  composed  of  ancient  elements, 
developed  and  perfected  for  other  objects,  betray,  in  spite  of  all 
the  skill  that  has  been  brought  to  bear  upon  them,  their  bastard 
origin.  In  literature,  the  same  struggle  between  the  ancient 
form  so  dear  to  scholars,  and  the  modern  thought  which  was 
out-growing  it,  was  long  and  obstinate.  In  literature  the  battle 
has  been  won  by  the  modern  thought.  The  models  of  Greece 
are   not  less  prized   for  this.     We   seek  them  diligently,  we 

Structure    and    Organization.       173 

ponder  them  with  delight  and  instruction.  We  assimilate  all 
of  their  principles  that  is  true  and  beautiful,  and  we  learn  of 
them  to  belong  to  our  day  and  to  our  nation,  as  they  to  theirs. 

In  all  structure  that  from  its  nature  is  purely  scientific,  in 
fortifications,  in  bridges,  in  ship-building,  we  have  been  eman- 
cipated from  authority  by  the  stern  organic  requirements  of  the 
works.  The  modern  wants  spurned  the  traditional  formula  in 
these  structures,  as  the  modern  life  outgrew  the  literary  moulds 
of  Athens.  In  all  these  structures,  character  has  taken  the 
place  of  dilettantism,  and  if  we  have  yet  to  fight  for  sound 
doctrine  in  all  structure,  it  is  only  because  a  doctrine  which  has 
possession  must  be  expelled,  inch  by  inch,  however  unsound  its 

The  developments  of  structure,  in  the  animal  kingdom,  are 
worthy  of  all  our  attention,  if  we  would  arrive  at  sound  prin- 
ciples in  building.  The  most  striking  feature  in  the  higher 
animal  organizations  is,  the  adherence  to  one  abstract  type. 
The  forms  of  the  fish  and  the  lizard,  the  shape  of  the  horse, 
and  the  lion,  and  the  camelopard,  are  so  nearly  framed  after 
one  type,  that  the  adherence  thereto  seems  carried  to  the  verge 
of  risk.  The  next  most  striking  feature  is  the  modification  of 
the  parts,  which,  if  contemplated  independently  of  the  exposure 
and  the  functions  whose  demands  are  thus  met,  seems  carried 
to  the  verge  of  caprice.  I  believe  few  persons  not  conversant 
with  natural  history,  ever  looked  through  a  collection  of  birds, 
or  fish,  or  insects,  without  feeling  that  they  were  the  result  of 
Omnipotence  at  play,  for  mere  variety's  sake. 

1*74   Structure  and  Organization. 

If  there  be  any  principle  of  structure  more  plainly  inculcated 
in  the  works  of  the  Creator  than  all  others,  it  is  the  principle  of 
unflinching  adaptation  of  forms  to  functions.  I  believe  that 
colors  also,  so  far  as  we  have  discovered  their  chemical  causes 
and  affinities,  are  not  less  organic  in  relation  to  the  forms  they 
invest  than  are  those  forms  themselves. 

If  I  find  the  length  of  the  vertebrae  of  the  neck  in  grazing 
quadrupeds  increased,  so  as  to  bring  the  incisors  to  the  grass ; 
if  I  find  the  vertebrae  shortened  in  beasts  of  prey,  in  order  to 
enable  the  brute  to  bear  away  his  victim  ;  if  I  find  the  wading 
birds  on  stilts,  the  strictly  aquatic  birds  with  paddles  ;  if,  in 
pushing  still  further  the  investigation,  I  find  color  arrayed 
either  for  disguise  or  aggression,  I  feel  justified  in  taking  the 
ground  that  organization  is  the  primal  law  of  structure,  and  I 
suppose  it,  even  where  my  imperfect  light  cannot  trace  it,  unless 
embellishment  can  be  demonstrated.  Since  the  tints  as  well 
as  the  forms  of  plants  and  flowers,  are  shown  to  have  an  orga- 
nic significance  and  value,  I  take  it  for  granted  that  tints  have 
a  like  character  in  the  mysteriously  clouded  and  pearly  shell, 
where  they  mock  my  ken.  I  cannot  believe  that  the  myriads 
are  furnished  at  the  depths  of  the  ocean,  with  the  complicated 
glands  and  absorbents,  to  nourish  those  dyes,  in  order  that  the 
hundreds  may  charm  my  idle  eye  as  they  are  tossed  in  disor- 
ganized ruin  upon  the  beach. 

Let  us  dwell  for  a  moment  upon  the  forms  of  several  of  the 
higher  types  of  animal  structure.  Behold  the  eagle,  as  he  sits 
on  the  lonely  cliff,  towering  high  in  the  air ;  carry  in  your  mind 

Structure    and    Organization.       175 

the  proportions  and  lines  of  the  dove,  and  mark  how  the  finger 
of  God  has,  by  the  mere  variation  of  diameters,  converted  the 
type  of  meekness  into  the  most  expressive  symbol  of  majesty. 
His  eye,  instead  of  rushing  as  it  were  out  of  his  head,  to  see 
the  danger  behind  him,  looks  steadfastly  forward  from  its  deep 
cavern,  knowing  no  danger  but  that  which  it  pilots.  The  struc- 
ture of  his  brow  allows  him  to  fly  upwards  with  his  eyes  in  shade. 
In  his  beak  and  his  talons  we  see  at  once  the  belligerent,  in  the 
vast  expanse  of  his  sailing  pinions  the  patent  of  his  prerogative. 
Dei  Gratia  Raptor  !  Whence  the  beauty  and  majesty  of  the 
bird  ?  It  is  the  oneness  of  his  function  that  gives  him  his 
grandeur,  it  is  transcendental  mechanism  alone  that  begets  his 
beauty.  Observe  the  lion  as  he  stands  !  Mark  the  ponderous 
predominance  of  his  anterior  extremities — his  lithe  loins,  the 
lever  of  his  hock — the  awful  breadth  of  his  jaws,  and  the  depth 
of  his  chest.  His  mane  is  a  cuirass,  and  when  the  thunder  of  his 
voice  is  added  to  the  glitter  of  his  snarling  jaws,  man  alone 
with  all  his  means  of  defence  stands  self-possessed  before  him. 
In  this  structure  again  are  beheld,  as  in  that  of  the  eagle,  the 
most  terrible  expression  of  power  and  dominion,  and  we  find 
that  it  is  here  also  the  result  of  transcendental  mechanism. 
The  form  of  the  hare  might  well  be  the  type  of  swiftness  for 
him  who  never  saw  the  greyhound.  The  greyhound  overtakes 
him,  and  it  is  not  possible  in  organization  that  this  result 
should  obtain,  without  the  promise  and  announcement  of  it,  in 
the  lengths  and  diameters  of  this  breed  of  dogs. 

Let  us  now  turn  to  the  human  frame — the  most  beautiful 

1*76   Structure  and  Organization. 

organization  of  earth,  the  exponent  and  minister  of  the  highest 
being  we  immediately  know.  This  stupendous  form,  towering 
as  a  light-house,  commanding  by  its  posture  a  wide  horizon, 
standing  in  relation  to  the  brutes  where  the  spire  stands  in  rela- 
tion to  the  lowly  colonnades  of  Greece  and  Egypt,  touching  earth 
with  only  one  half  the  soles  of  its  feet — it  tells  of  majesty  and 
dominion  by  that  upreared  spine,  of  duty  by  those  unencum- 
bered hands.  Where  is  the  ornament  of  this  frame  ?  It  is  all 
beauty,  its  motion  is  grace,  no  combination  of  harmony  ever 
equalled,  for  expression  and  variety,  its  poised  and  stately  gait ; 
its  voice  is  music,  no  cunning  mixture  of  wood  and  metal  ever 
did  more  than  feebly  imitate  its  tone  of  command  or  its  warble 
of  love.  The  savage  who  envies  or  admires  the  special  attri- 
butes of  beasts,  maims  unconsciously  his  own  perfection,  to 
assume  their  tints,  their  feathers,  or  their  claws ;  we  turn  from 
him  with  horror,  and  gaze  with  joy  on  the  naked  Apollo. 

I  have  dwelt  a  moment  on  these  examples  of  expression  and 
of  beauty,  that  I  may  draw  from  them  a  principle  in  Art,  a 
principle  which,  if  it  has  been  often  illustrated  by  brilliant 
results,  we  constantly  see  neglected,  overlooked,  forgotten — a 
principle  which  I  hope  the  examples  I  have  given  have  pre- 
pared you  to  accept  at  once,  and  unhesitatingly.  It  is  this — 
in  Art,  as  in  nature,  the  soul,  the  purpose  of  a  wrork  will  never 
fail  to  be  proclaimed  in  that  work  in  proportion  to  the  subor- 
dination of  the  parts  to  the  whole,  of  the  whole  to  the  function. 
If  you  will  trace  the  ship  through  its  various  stages  of  improve- 
ment, from  the  dug-out  canoe  and  the  old  galley,  to  the  latest 

Structure     and    Organization.      177 

type  of  the  sloop-of-war,  you  will  remark  that  every  advance  in 
performance  has  been  an  advance  in  expression,  in  grace,  in 
beauty,  or  grandeur,  according  to  the  functions  of  the  craft. 
This  artistic  gain,  effected  by  pure  science  in  some  respects,  in 
others  by  mere  empirical  watching  of  functions  where  the  ele- 
ments of  the  structure  were  put  to  severe  tests,  calls  loudly 
upon  the  artist  to  keenly  watch  traditional  dogmas,  and  to  see 
how  far  analogous  rules  may  guide  his  own  operations.  You 
will  remark,  also,  that  after  mechanical  power  had  triumphed 
over  the  earlier  obstacles,  embellishment  began  to  encumber 
and  hamper  ships,  and  that  their  actual  approximation  to 
beauty  has. been  effected  first,  by  strict  adaptation  of  forms  to 
functions  ;  second,  by  the  gradual  elimination  of  all  that  is  irre- 
levant and  impertinent.  The  old  chairs  were  formidable  by 
their  weight,  puzzled  you  by  their  carving,  and  often  contained 
too  much  else  to  contain  convenience  and  comfort.  The  most 
beautiful  chairs  invite  you  by  a  promise  of  ease,  and  they  keep 
that  promise ;  they  bear  neither  flowers  nor  dragons,  nor  idle 
displays  of  the  turner's  caprice.  By  keeping  within  their  pro- 
vince they  are  able  to  fill  it  well.  Organization  has  a  language 
of  its  own,  and  so  expressive  is  that  language,  that  a  make-shift 
or  make-believe  can  scarce  fail  of  detection.  The  swan,  the 
goose,  the  duck,  when  they  walk  towards  the  water  are  awk- 
ward, when  they  hasten  towards  it  are  ludicrous.  Their  feet 
are  paddles,  and  their  legs  are  organized  mainly  to  move  those 
paddles  in  the  water  ;  they,  therefore,  paddle  on  land,  or  as  we 
sav,  waddle.     It  is  onlv  when  their  breasts  are  launched  into 


178      Structure    and    Organization. 

the  pond  that  their  necks  assume  the  expression  of  ease  and 
grace.  A  serpent,  upon  a  smooth  hard  road,  has  a  similar 
awkward  expression  of  impotence  ;  the  grass,  or  pebbles,  or 
water,  as  he  meets  either,  afford  him  his  sine  qua  non,  and  he 
is  instantly  confident,  alert,  effective. 

If  I  err  not,  we  should  learn  from  these  and  the  like  exam- 
ples, which  will  meet  us  wherever  we  look  for  them,  that  God's 
world  has  a  distinct  formula  for  every  function,  and  that  we 
shall  seek  in  vain  to  borrow  shapes  ;  we  must  make  the  shapes, 
and  can  only  effect  this  by  mastering  the  principles. 

It  is  a  confirmation  of  the  doctrine  of  strict  adaptation  that 
I  find  in  the  purer  Doric  temple.  The  sculptures  which  adorned 
certain  spaces  in  those  temples  had  an  organic  relation  to  the 
functions  of  the  edifice  ;  they  took  possession  of  the  worshipper 
as  he  approached,  lifted  him  out  of  every-day  life,  and  prepared 
him  for  the  presence  of  the  divinity  within.  The  wTorld  has 
never  seen  plastic  art  developed  so  highly  as  by  the  men  who 
translated  into  marble  in  the  tympanum  and  the  metope;  the 
theogony  and  the  exploits  of  the  heroes.  Why,  then,  those 
columns  uncarved?  Why,  then,  those  lines  of  cornice  un- 
broken by  foliages,  unadorned  by  flowers?  Why,  that  match- 
less symmetry  of  eveiy  member,  that  music  of  gradation,  with- 
out the  tracery  of  the  gothic  detail,  without  the  endless  caprices 
of  arabesque  ?  Because  those  sculptures  spake,  and  speech 
asks  a  groundwork  of  silence  and  not  of  babble,  though  it  were 
of  green  fields. 
,    I  am  not  about  to  deny  the  special  beauties  and  value  of  any 

Structure    and    Organization.       179 

of  the  great  types  of  building.  Each  has  its  meaning  and 
expression.  I  am  desirous  now  of  analysing  that  majestic  and 
eloquent  simplicity  of  the  Greek  temple,  because,  though  I 
truly  believe  that  it  is  hopeless  to  transplant  its  forms  with  any 
other  result  than  an  expression  of  impotent  dilettantism,  still  I 
believe  that  its  principles  will  be  found  to  be  those  of  all  struc- 
tures of  the  highest  order. 

When  I  gaze  upon  the  stately  and  beautiful  Parthenon,  I  do 
not  wonder  at  the  greediness  of  the  moderns  to  appropriate  it. 
I  do  wonder  at  the  obtuseness  which  allowed  them  to  persevere 
in  trying  to  make  it  work  in  the  towns.  It  seems  like  the  en- 
thusiasm of  him  who  should  squander  much  money  to  transfer 
an  Arabian  stallion  from  his  desert  home,  that,  as  a  blindfolded 
gelding,  he  might  turn  his  mill.  The  lines  in  which  Byron  paints 
the  fate  of  the  butterfly  that  has  fallen  into  the  clutches  of  its 
childish  admirer,  would  apply  not  inaptly  to  the  Greek  temple, 
at  the  mercy  of  a  sensible  building  committee,  wisely  deter- 
mined to  have  their  money's  worth. 

When  high  art  declined,  carving  and  embellishment  invaded 
the  simple  organization.  As  the  South  Sea  Islanders  have 
added  a  variety  to  the  human  form  by  tattooing,  so  the  cunning 
artisans  of  Greece  undertook  to  go  beyond  perfection.  Many 
rhetoricians  and  skilled  grammarians  refined  upon  the  elements 
of  the  language  of  structure.  They  all  spake  :  and  demigods, 
and  heroes,  and  the  gods  themselves,  went  away  and  were 

If  we  compare  the  simpler  form  of  the  Greek  temple  with  the 

180      Structure    and    Organization. 

ornate  and  carved  specimens  which  followed  it,  we  shall  be  con- 
vinced, whatever  the  subtlety,  however  exquisite  the  taste  that 
long  presided  over  those  refinements,  that  they  were  the  begin- 
ning of  the  end,  and  that  the  turning  point  was  the  first  introduc- 
tion of  a  fanciful,  not  demonstrable,  embellishment,  and  for 
this  simple  reason,  that  embellishment  being  arbitrary,  there  is 
no  check  upon  it;  you  begin  with  acanthus  leaves,  but  the 
appetite  for  sauces,  or  rather  the  need  of  them,  increases  as  the 
palate  gets  jaded.  You  want  jasper,  and  porphyry,  and  ser- 
pentine, and  giallo  antico,  at  last.  Nay,  you  are  tired  of  Aris- 
tides  the  Just,  and  of  straight  columns  ;  they  must  be  spiral, 
and  by  degrees  you  find  yourself  in  the  midst  of  a  barbaric 
pomp,  whose  means  must  be  slavery,  nothing  less  will  supply 
its  waste,  whose  enjoyment  is  satiety,  whose  result  is  corrup- 

It  was  a  day  of  danger  for  the  development  of  taste  in  this 
land,  the  day  when  Englishmen  perceived  that  France  was  lay- 
ing them  under  contribution  by  her  artistic  skill  in  manufac- 
ture. They  organized  reprisals  upon  ourselves,  and,  in  lieu  of 
truly  artistic  combinations,  they  have  overwhelmed  us  with 
embellishment,  arbitrary,  capricious,  setting  at  defiance  all 
principle,  meretricious  dyes  and  tints,  catch-penny  novelties  of 
form,  steam-woven  fineries  and  plastic  ornaments,  struck  with 
the  die  or  pressed  into  moulds.  In  even  an  ordinary  house  we 
look  around  in  vain  for  a  quiet  and  sober  resting-place  for  the 
eye ;  we  see  naught  but  flowers,  flourishes — the  renaissance 
of  Louis  Quatorze   gingerbread    embellishment.        We  seek 

Structure    and    Organization.      181 

in  vain  for  aught  else.  Our  own  manufacturers  have  caught 
the  furor,  and  our  foundries  pour  forth  a  mass  of  ill-digested 
and  crowded  embellishment,  which  one  would  suppose  addres- 
sed to  the  sympathies  of  savages  or  of  the  colored  population, 
if  the  utter  absence  of  all  else  in  the  market  were  not  too 
striking  to  allow  such  a  conclusion. 

I  do  not  suppose  it  is  possible  to  check  such  a  tide  as  that 
which  sets  all  this  corruption  towards  our  shores.  I  am  aware 
of  the  economical  sagacity  of  the  English,  and  how  fully  they 
understand  the  market ;  but  I  hope  that  we  are  not  so  through- 
ly asphyxiated  by  the  atmosphere  they  have  created,  as  to  fol- 
low their  lead  in  our  own  creation  of  a  higher  order.  I  remark 
with  joy,  that  almost  all  the  more  important  efforts  of  this  land 
tend,  with  an  instinct  and  a  vigor  born  of  the  institutions,  to- 
wards simple  and  effective  organization  ;  and  they  never  fail 
whenever  they  toss  overboard  the  English  dictum,  and  work  from 
their  own  inspirations,  to  surpass  the  British,  and  there,  too, 
where  the  world  thought  them  safe  from  competition. 

I  would  fain  beg  any  architect  who  allows  fashion  to  invade 
the  domain  of  principles,  to  compare  the  American  vehicles 
and  ships  with  those  of  England,  and  he  will  see  that  the 
mechanics  of  the  United  States  have  already  outstripped  the 
artists,  and  have,  by  the  results  of  their  bold  and  unflinching 
adaptation,  entered  the  true  track,  and  hold  up  the  light  for  all 
who  operate  for  American  wants,  be  they  what  they  will. 

In  the  American  trotting  waggon  I  see  the  old-fashioned  and 

182       Structure    and    Organization. 

pompous  coach  dealt  with  as  the  old-fashioned  palatial  display 
must  yet  be  dealt  with  in  this  land.  In  vain  shall  we  en- 
deavor to  hug  the  associations  connected  with  the  old  form. 
The  redundant  must  be  pared  down,  the  superfluous  dropped, 
the  necessary  itself  reduced  to  its  simplest  expression,  and  then 
we  shall  find,  whatever  the  organization  may  be,  that  beauty 
was  waiting  for  us,  though  perhaps  veiled,  until  our  task  was 
fully  accomplished. 

Far  be  it  from  me  to  pretend  that  the  style  pointed  out  by 
our  mechanics  is  what  is  sometimes  miscalled  an  economical, 
a  cheap  style.  No !  It  is  the  dearest  of  all  styles  !  It  costs 
the  thought  of  men,  much,  very  much  thought,  untiring 
investigation,  ceaseless  experiment.  Its  simplicity  is  not  the 
simplicity  of  emptiness  or  of  poverty,  its  simplicity  is  that  of  just- 
ness, I  had  almost  said,  of  justice.  Your  steam  artisan  would  fill 
your  town  with  crude  plagiarisms,  calquis  upon  the  thefts  from 
Pompeii  or  modern  Venice,  while  the  true  student  is  determining 
the  form  and  proportions  of  one  article. 

Far  be  it  from  me  to  promise  any  man  that  when  he  has 
perfected  the  type  of  any  artistic  product,  he  shall  reap  the 
fruit  of  his  labor  in  fame  or  money.  He  must  not  hope  it. 
Fame  and  money  are  to  be  had  in  plenty ;  not  in  going  against 
the  current,  but  in  going  with  it.  It  is  not  difficult  to  conceive 
that  the  same  state  of  the  popular  taste  which  makes  the  cor- 
rupted style  please,  will  render  the  reformed  style  tasteless.  It 
is  not  possible  to  put  artistic  products  to  a  test  analogous  to 

Structure    and    Organization^      183 

that  which  tries  the  ship  and  the  carnage,  but  by  a  lapse  of  time. 
True  it  is,  that  society  always  reserves  a  certain  number  of  minds 
and  of  eyes  unpoisoned  by  the  vogue  of  the  hour,  and  in  the 
sympathy  of  these  must  the  artist  often  find  his  chief  reward 
in  life. 


It  is  with  great  reluctance,  nay,  with  grief,  that  I  have  under- 
taken to  speak  of  this  monument  to  Cooper.  Accustomed  to 
express  my  conception  in  the  language  of  form,  and  address- 
ing the  mind  and  the  imagination  of  the  constituency  by 
means  of  substantial  art,  I  feel  painfully  the  impotence  of  my 
language  to  express  my  feeling  as  well  as  my  meaning.  *  *  * 
I  propose  for  this  monument  a  parallelogram  of  twenty-four 
by  forty-eight  feet,  inclosing  a  room  of  about  twenty  feet  high, 
equally  lighted  throughout  from  above.  I  propose  to  raise  this 
building  upon  three  high  steps  which  will  quite  surround  it. 
At  the  corners  of  these  steps  I  propose  to  erect,  on  pedestals, 
four  figures  illustrating  four  of  Cooper's  most  striking  creations 
of  character.  The  external  frieze  I  propose  to  decorate  with 
designs  embodying  national  traits  described  by  the  poet,  and, 
in  the  interior,  I  propose  to  call  upon  four  of  the  ablest  painters 
of  the  country  to  make  visible  a  certain  number  of  his  most 
effective  descriptions.  The  colossal  bronze  portrait  of  Cooper 
will  ornament  the  extremity  of  this  room  opposite  the  entrance. 
I  propose  that,  in  form,  this  building  shall  be  an  example  of 
symmetry  and  effective  masonry,  and  that  all  its  parts  shall  be 

The    Cooper    Monument.  185 

specimens  of  what  can  be  afforded  by  the  country  now.  I  pro- 
pose to  exclude  from  the  entire  work  all  ornament,  except  the 
graceful  modification  of  the  necessary  elements,  and  the  picto- 
rial and  sculptural  illustrations  I  have  enumerated. 

I  count  upon  the  soul  of  this  building  to  impress  itself  on  the 
body,  and  if,  as  I  believe,  its  purpose  is  great  and  noble,  let  no 
man  fear  that  greatness  and  nobility  will  not  get  utterance 
through  the  hands  of  those  who  rear  and  illustrate  it,  even  as 
the  leaden  types  arrange  themselves  now  at  the  command  of 
the  long  buried  Shakspeare. 

I  propose  that  a  large  and  thoroughly  digested  model  of  the 
entire  work  be  prepared  before  anything  farther  be  attempted. 

I  do  not  deny  that,  for  the  sum  of  money  which  this  work 
will  absorb,  a  vast  pile  of  Gothic  fritter  or  other  European 
clap-trap  could  be  erected,  which  would  fill  all  the  papers  of 
the  land  with  hyperbolical  eulogium  and  self-gratulation. 

I  do  not  deny  that,  when  all  is  effected  that  I  propose  to 
attempt,  the  spectator  must  bring  to  the  view  of  the  work  a 
warm  love  of  the  first  American  Novelist,  a  keen  relish  for  the 
simple,  the  fervid,  the  true,  or  he  will  go  away  as  they  go,  who, 
enticed  by  the  hope  of  a  feast,  only  get  a  sermon. 

I  believe,  notwithstanding,  that  this  work  would  have  several 

desirable  results.     It  could  scarce  fail  to  develope  and  improve 

highly  the  artists  employed  on  it,  who,  unless  this  or  other 

similar  works  be  commanded,  must  continue  the  expectants  of 

private  patronage  or  caprice ;  and,  as  such,  too  often  accept 

tasks  calculated  rather  to  belittle  than  to  expand  and  develope 


186  The    Cooper    Monument. 

their  faculties.  In  art,  swimming  is  only  learned  in  the 

I  believe  that,  as  a  type  of  structure,  this  work  could  scarce 
fail  to  influence,  in  the  most  wholesome  manner,  the  structures 
of  the  country,  by  showing  in  practice  what  a  few  sound  and 
pure  maxims  will  do  for  any  building. 

I  feel  confident  that,  as  a  homage  to  a  man  who  has  been  a 
great  national  benefactor  and  a  literary  hero,  it  would  command 
the  respect  of  all  beholders.  By  degrees  the  public  would 
learn  to  understand  its  language,  and  when  that  has  been 
accomplished  a  great  step  will  have  been  taken  in  this  branch 
of  culture. 

I  have  stated  my  views  in  regard  to  this  monument  in  a 
general  manner  ;  to  go  farther  into  detail  it  would  be  necessary 
to  have  elaborated  the  design,  and  to  have  performed  all  but 
the  material  execution  thereof:  a  labor  of  many  months,  and 
requiring  somewhat  of  expense  in  experiment. 

I  cannot  close  without  expressing  my  regret  that  a  building 
has  not  already  been  prepared,  and  does  not  already  preserve 
a  public  testimonial  to  other  illustrious  sons  of  New  York,  to 
which  this  monument  of  Cooper  would  have  been  a  noble 
addition.  I  believe  that,  since  the  fire  which  destroyed  the  old 
Exchange  and  annihilated  the  statue  of  Hamilton,  nothing  wor- 
thy of  the  State  or  the  man  remains  to  record  visibly  his  fame. 
Fulton's  statue,  or  even  bust,  if  it  exist,  has  not  been  seen  by 
me.  The  fate  of  the  statue  of  Hamilton,  that  of  Washington's 
statue  at  Raleigh,  the  destruction  of  the  library  at  Washington 

The    Cooper    Monument.  187 

of  the  Academy  of  Fine  Arts  of  Philadelphia,  of  the  antiquities 
of  Central  America  at  New  York,  and  the  burning  of  the  Pano- 
rama of  Athens  at  Cambridge,  are  all  examples  of  our  habitual 
reliance  upon  combustible  material,  against  all  principles  of  true 
and  wise  economy,  and  warnings  not  to  be  slighted  in  the  face 
of  the  statistics  of  conflagration,  and  the  new,  saddening  ele- 
ment of  voluntary  and  malicious  incendiarism  now  beginning 
to  be  developed  in  these  States. 

I  am  fully  aware  that  the  great  calls  made  upon  the  means 
of  citizens  by  amusements  of  an  expensive  character,  by  feasts 
and  dances  that  vie  with  the  royal  follies  of  the  old  world,  and 
embellishments,  domestic  and  personal,  which,  like  the  triumphs 
of  Rome,  represent  the  achievements  and  the  whims  of  the 
known  world,  leave  but  scanty  resources  available  for  purposes 
like  that  I  propose  ;  but  I  have  still  thought  it  best  to  speak  of 
what  might  be,  believing  that  such  an  object  would  be  a  deco- 
ration of  the  city,  a  stimulus  to  youth,  a  subject  of  pleasing  study 
and  instruction  for  the  leisure  of  the  citizens,  and  as  permanent 
and  connected  with  the  national  glory,  a  commencement  of  that 
fund  of  artistic  wealth  by  which  we  measure  the  minds  of 
nations  whose  conquests  are  passed,  and  whose  policy  has 
suffered  the  fate  of  all  things  here  below. 


Fashion  has  lived  too  long,  and  exercised  an  influence  too 
potent  for  us  either  to  deny  or  to  escape  it.  I  wish  to  analyse 
it  briefly.  The  fact  that  it  runs  counter  to  functional  require- 
ment oft-tirnes ;  that  it  is  imperative  for  its  hour,  and  that  it 
loses  all  claim  even  to  respect  or  gratitude  after  that  hour  is 
*  passed,  brings  it  into  the  same  category  with  certain  British 
Sovereigns,  who  are  stamped  as  the  first  gentlemen  and  ladies 
of  Christendom,  as  long  as  they  sit  upon  the  throne,  and  who 
are  found,  by  subsequent  analysis,  to  require  a  new  definition 
of  decency  or  propriety  to  bring  them  within  the  class  of 
reputable  men. 

I  regard  the  Fashion  as  the  instinctive  effort  of  the  stationary 
to  pass  itself  off  for  progress  :  its  embellishment  exhibits  the 
rhythm  of  organization,  without  the  capacity  for  action  ;  so 
the  fashion  boasts  the  sensuous  phenomena  of  progress  with- 
out any  real  advance.  The  one  and  the  other  are,  I  believe, 
opiates,  intended  to  quell  and  lull  the  wholesome  demands  of 
nature,  and  of  the  author  of  nature.  I  believe  both  are  better 
than  nothing ;  for  a  false  homage  to  the  good  has  more  of 
hope  in  it  than  a  conscious  and  hearty  adherence  to  wrong. 

Fashion.  189 

Wherever  the  student  of  modern  life  turns  his  eye,  he  sees, 
among  other  apparently  more  substantial  and  serious  obstacles 
to  advancement  and  reform,  a  phantom-like  opponent  who, 
though  no  man  may  say  whence  he  comes,  or  who  is  his  sire, 
assumes  the  purple,  and  rules  with  a  rod  of  iron.  I  mean  the 
Fashion.  I  mean  the  essential  mode  !  I  do  not  mean  to  re- 
flect upon  the  victims  and  subjects  of  this  despot.  I  believe 
we  all  bow  the  neck  to  him,  more  or  less ;  nor  do  I  mean  to 
assert  that  he  has  no  right  of  any  sort  to  our  regard,  for  he 
has  might,  and  might  always  means  something  very  serious. 
I  wish  to  put  him  to  the  test  of  analysis,  and  find  an  intelligible 
definition  of  him,  that  I  may  know  at  least  where  and  how  far 
we  may  lazily  submit,  when  and  how  we  may  rebel  with  a 
chance  of  freedom. 

The  Fashion  is  not  coeval  with  the  race — he  was  not  a 
younger  brother  of  the  sun  and  stars,  a  second-born  of  Heaven. 
The  great  civilizations  of  antiquity  never  saw  him,  till  the 
epoch  of  their  decline.  The  Iliad  and  the  Greek  tragedies 
have  no  trace  of  him.  Even  the  modern  man,  in  his  hour  of 
travail  and  of  woe,  wots  not  of  him ;  he  is  a  flutterer  in  the 
sunshine  of  superfluity.  He  is  protean,  elusive,  he  is  here  and 
gone ;  and  when  we  had  believed  him  dead,  is  here  again  in 
the  twinkling  of  an  eye  !  We  had  hoped  that  his  change  was 
a  search  after  the  good,  until  we  felt  that  he  gloried  in  the  no 
logic  of  his  shifting.  We  had  hoped  that  he  was  seeking  a 
wise  folly,  and   that   when   the   circle  of  folly  was   run,  he 

190  Fashion. 

would  turn  to  wisdom  in  despair.  But  again  and  again  he 
flies  to  the  old  folly,  and  gilds  with  his  sanction  the  exploded 
silliness  of  a  few  years  since. 

The  Fashion  is  no  respecter  of  persons.  He  has  apparently 
no  preferences  of  a  distinct  and  reliable  nature.  He  gives  no 
premonitory  symptoms  of  his  approach.  He  expires  in  full 
vigor,  and  like  Tadur,  reappears  in  the  form  of  some  other 
impotent,  dumb,  and  voiceless  form. 

His  essential  characteristic  is  change  ;  he  is  a  dodger,  an 
ever  new  countersign,  a  Bramah  lock,  which,  when  Mr.  Hobbs 
has  made  his  key,  instantly  becomes  a  common  padlock,  and 
so  puts  him  to  shame. 

I  understand  by  the  Fashion  the  instinctive  effort  of  preten- 
sion to  give  by  mere  change,  the  sensuous  semblance  of  pro- 
gress. I  look  upon  it  as  a  pis  alter  of  the  stationary  to  pass 
itself  off  for  locomotion.  I  regard  it  as  a  uniform,  with  which 
thinking  humanity  cripples  its  gait,  in  the  vain  hope  that  the 
unthinking  may  keep  up  with  itself.  It  is  a  result  of  the 
desperate  effort  to  make  a  distinction  out  of  nothing,  and  is 
only  driven  from  change  to  change,  because  nothing  is  a  fruit 
that  grows  within  the  reach  of  all. 

Still,  Fashion  denotes  a  hope  of  better  things.  It  betrays  a 
lurking  want  not  clearly  expressed,  and  it  gives  stones  and 
serpents  to  stop  our  craving,  only  because  it  has  neither  bread 
nor  fishes  to  bestow.  Fashion  is  no  positive  evil,  and  has  been 
often  a  relative  good.     As  etiquette,  though  a  poor  make-shift, 

Fashion.  191 

still  confesses  the  existence  of  propriety,  its  superstition,  with 
all  its  darkness,  would  prove  a  twilight  to  the  godless ;  so 
Fashion  may  be  allowed  to  protest  against  finality,  and  be  the 
symbol  of  yearning  yet  impotent  aspiration. 


Sir  Joshua  Reynolds,  in  his  very  able  and  scholar-like  Dis- 
courses on  the  Art  of  Painting,  adhered  to  "  sound  believing," 
and  though  in  his  work-room  he  was  chiefly  occupied  with 
lords  and  ladies,  at  two,  three,  and  five  hundred  pounds  a  head, 
yet  in  his  doctrine  was  he  a  firm  maintainer  of  the  gusto  grande, 
and  its  concomitant  short-commons.  He  thus  served  the  god 
of  art  and  the  mammon  of  society  alternately — led  Barrys  and 
Haydons  into  the  temptation  of  "  entusimusy,"  and  kept  his 
royal  siege  and  extensive  custom  safe  alike  from  rivalry  and 

He  has  recorded  the  boast  that  his  were  no  "  unfledged 
opinions,"  he  had  gained  them  all  from  the  Italian  eagles'  moun- 
tain home,  after  they  had  left  the  parent  nest.  Was  he  not  in 
error  here  ?  Were  they  not  chiefly  eggs  which  he  distributed 
at  Somerset  house  ?    Were  not  most  of  the  male  eggs  addled  ? 

The  master-pieces  that  I  saw  in  London  last  summer,  were 
dogs,  with  an  epigraph  more  or  less  witty  or  far-fetched,  the 
Houses  of  Parliament,  a  sort  of  parvenu  nightmare,  caused  by 
the  middle  ages  not  being  yet  thoroughly  digested  by  the  British 

An    Artist's    Creed.  193 

stomach,  and  an  unsightly  column,  with  an  unsightly  statue  on 
its  summit,  which  made  me  feel  that  one  man,  at  least,  had 
failed  "  to  do  his  duty." 

I  doubt  if  the  world  can  accept  these  spolia  oinma  as  any 
fair  remuneration  for  so  many  years  of  successful  sway  by  sea 
and  land. 

I  wish  to  give  forth  an  artist's  creed  which  I  have  prepared 
for  my  own  child.  I  have  followed  Winkelman  through  the 
labyrinth  of  his  dogma,  and  it  has  seemed  to  me  that  he  hath 
rather  imposed  his  own  feeling  and  taste  than  struck  and  laid 
bare  the  foundations  of  truth.  I  have  followed  Schiller  and 
Goethe  to  the  top  of  their  high  mountain,  and  found  the  air 
thin  and  cold,  and  often  so  foggy  that  I  could  see  no  trace  of 
the  kingdoms  of  the  world  they  told  me  were  at  my  feet. 

I  dare  not  deny  the  mastery  of  these  men  of  the  ideas  they 
handled.  I  must,  however,  make  shift  to  get  along  without 
understanding  them  at  present.  I  have  not  the  antecedent 
training  necessary  to  follow  them,  and  find  my  way  back  to 
practice.  I  remark,  likewise,  that  the  light  of  their  sun  hath 
not  prevented  many  princes  and  peoples  from  running  into  pal- 
pable artistical  absurdity,  and  this  is  my  only  safe  reason  for 
doubting  them.  An  isolated  spider  throws  out  a  web  and  pulls 
upon  it  to  see  if  its  other  end  hath  caught  somewhat ;  if  it  be 
floating  in  space  he  withdraws  it,  and  throws  out,  another  much 
longer  :  if  he  have  no  better  success  than  before,  he  waits  a  long 
time  after  withdrawing  this  second  web,  and  then  throwing  out 
a  thread  of  incredible  fineness  and  length,  he  runs  upon  it,  not 

194  An    Artist's    Creed. 

caring  whether  it  have  any  hold  at  the  other  end,  and  trusting 
to  its  hold  upon  the  air,  to  take  him  at  all  events  out  of  that. 
I  believe  the  symmetrical  and  brilliant  theories  which  are  not 
incarnate  in  practical  result,  have  a  certain  analogy  with  this 
third  web  of  the  isolated  spider;  for  though  it  require  an  ex- 
ceptional brain  to  demonstrate  a  new  truth,  your  average  man 
can  generally  adapt  it,  and  work  it  into  the  result  with  heat  and 
vigor  and  even  new  application*  not  foreseen  by  the  original 
discerner  thereof. 

I  sat  in  the  fresh  morning  within  my  garden  ;  the  sun  was 
rising,  and  the  sea  and  sky  responded  to  his  eternal  smile.  A 
gentle  wind  crept  over  me,  and  wrapped  me  in  a  paradise  of  new- 
mown  hay  and  wild  flowers.  The  sweetbrier  that  canopied 
ray  head  poured  forth  her  breath  of  praise  till  the  sense  ached 
at  her.  I  was  still  and  cheerful.  Suddenly  my  own  blue-eyed 
boy  stood  by  me ;  he  leaned  his  elbows  on  my  knees,  looked 
wistfully  up  to  my  face,  and,  with  bewildered  smile  asked, "  Papa, 
what  is  God  ?  Since  "  the  boy's  the  father  of  the  man,"  I  com- 
manded my  voice  and  my  smile ;  1  bade  him  call  his  mother 

*  Some  of  the  ablest  Daguerrian  operators  are,  without  doubt,  the  very 
men  who  would  have  laughed  Daguerre  to  scorn  had  they  seen  him  trying 
to  fix  the  image  upon  his  silver  retina.  You  may  know  the  practicians 
by  this  sign,  they  are  great  laughers.  They  stand  in  relation  to  the 
inventors  where  the  fist  stands  in  relation  to  the  brain,  and  are  as 
necessary  to  it  as  it  to  them. 

An    Artist's    Creed.  195 

that  we  might  speak  together  of  this  ;  he  bounded  away. 
My  breast  was  shaken,  and  I  wept.  That  question,  thus  asked 
then  and  there,  was  too  much  for  me.  It  was  as  if  the  new- 
born litter  had  lifted  their  mewling  muzzles  from  the  teat,  and 
yelped  for  the  day  that  was  burning  on  their  closed  lids. 

Ere  long  I  heard  his  laughing  voice  ;  he  was  at  play ;  I  went 
to  him.  "  Papa.  God  is  my  father  which  is  in  heaven  !"  "  Ay,  my 
child  ! 'hallowed  be  his  name!'  "I  say  it  every  night — Thy 
kingdom  come  !  thy  will  be  done !"  and,  leaning  on  his  Lilli- 
putian rake,  he  recited  the  divine  petition.  Is  it  right  thus  to 
make  the  infant  brain  a  romba  of  words  that  come,  at  last,  to  be 
associated  only  with  bed-time  ?  I  know  not  there  be  honest 
men  that  were  thus  tutored.  Because  of  my  fear  that  my 
child  may  come  at  last  not  to  taste  the  quality  of  the  Lord's 
prayer,  until  he  can  compare  it  with  the  prayers  of  the  hier- 
archies, do  I  now  seek  to  prepare  for  him  an  artist's  creed,  that 
he  may  learn  somewhat  of  man  made  in  God's  image,  and 
thence  climb  from  nature  to  nature's  author  and  finisher. 

Three  things,  my  child,  have  I  seen  in  man  worthy  of  thy 
love  and  thought.  Three  proofs  do  I  find  in  man  that  he  was 
made  only  a  little  lower  than  the  angels — Beauty — Action — 

By  beauty  I  mean  the  promise  of  function. 
By  action  I  mean  the  presence  of  function. 
By  character  I  mean  the  record  of  function. 

196  An    Artist's    Creed. 

The  glory  of  beauty  is  the  faith  of  future  action. 

The  honor  of  action  is  the  hope  of  future  character. 

The  divinity  of  character  is  the  charity  that  giveth  itself  to 
God,  in  sacrificing  self  to  humanity. 

These  three  do  I  find,  and  the  greatest  of  these  is  charity. 
Go  thou,  my  child,  into  the  thoroughfare,  test  these  my  words, 
and  if  they  be  clever  statements  of  a  lie,  say  to  them  retro, 
Satane  !  But  if  they  be  feeble  lines  of  truth,  come  to  me 
once  more,  and  we  will  pull  these  threads  and  seek  to  know 
where  their  other  end  is  fastened. 

The  April  leaf  bursts  its  integument  at  the  call  of  the  coming 
sun.  Its  stem  is  feeble,  but  its  pulp  is  also  tender,  obedient  to 
the  breeze,  coy  of  the  rain,  it  shines  and  thinks  not  of  August, 
still  less  of  November.  The  eye  of  man  sees  here  the  beauty 
of  the  leaf,  the  promise  of  midsummer  function;  not  that  func- 
tion hath  not  begun — it  began  ere  the  sharded  husk  fell  to 
earth.  But  it  is  light,  easy  gentle  work.  He  hangs  upon  the 
breast  of  the  young  year,  and  answers  the  flow  of  her  milk 
with  the  light  of  his  eye,  and  his  heavenly,  toothless  laugh. 
The  eye  of  man  foresees  the  dog-days  and  hears  afar  the  hail- 
storm and  the  thunder.  Not  for  ever  will  that  mother  watch — 
she  only  prepares  thee ! 

In  July  we  visit  once  more  the  leaf,  and  we  find  him  a  lit- 
tle dusty  generally,  his  stem  tougher,  he  sways  where  he  once 
fluttered,  and  his  gloss  is  gone  ;  he  takes  his  dose  of  sun  and 
rain  when  he  can  get  it,  but  not  with  the  frolic  of  May ;  his 
outline  hath  been  somewhat  shrivelled  by  the  heat,  his  integrity 

An    Artist's    Creed.  197 

a  little  damaged  by  grub,  or  moth.  In  the  long  drought  we 
think  we  hear  him  cry,  u  How  long !  Oh  Lord,  how  long  ?"  He 
is  now  in  full  action,  and  though  he  seem  less  buoyant,  this  is 
his  life  of  life.  There  is  still  beauty  in  him,  for  there  is  still  a 
promise  of  function,  but  there  is  chiefly  action,  performance, 
which  is  more  than  promise.  Character  is  now  developing, 
the  record  of  his  function  is  now  seen,  he  is  beginning  to  get  a 
receipt  in  full  from  the  Maker  of  all  things. 

The  eye  of  man  now  sees,  in  the  expanded  and  towering 
trunk,  the  treasure,  that  these  little  busy  ones  have  laid  up  of 
solid  wood. 

In  November  we  seek  the  leaf  once  more — it  hangs  by  a 
filament ;  beauty  is  there  yet,  for  yet  is  there  a  promise  of  func- 
tion ;  but  how  small  !  The  thready  fibre  that  sustains  the 
shrivelled  lung  still  promises,  the  filament  still  acts,  character 
is  here  ;  and  at  last,  with  sudden  puff  of  north-wester,  comes  the 
receipt  in  full,  and  the  rustling  fall  is  answered  with  greeting 
rustle  by  such  as  fell  before. 

The  ear  of  man  hears  audibly  the  words  "  Well  done  !  good 
and  faithful  servant." 

The  heathen  saw  in  spring  one  deity,  in  the  summer  another, 
in  the  fall  another  ;  and  when  the  winter  came  they  sorrowed 
as  without  hope.  The  eye  of  man  now  sees  one  God,  the  God 
of  spring,  of  summer,  of  fall  and  of  winter,  and  in  whom, 
through  all  these  aspects,  is  there  no  shadow  of  turning. 

Thou  who  dost  not  grope  as  I,  but  seest ;  who  art  not  dumb 
as  I,  who  have  dabbled  in  jargons  till  I  have  lost  my  vernacu- 

198  An    Artist's    Creed. 

lar  and  gained  no  tongue, — but  speakest;  say  of  man,  say  of 
nations,  say  of  creeds,  say  of  every  juxtaposition  of  parts  for 
an  end  what  I  have  tried  to  say  of  the  leaf,  what  thou  feelest 
that  I  struggle  after,  even  as  the  drowning  man  clutches,  vain- 
ly ;  and  if  it  be  not  true,  there  must  be  more  Gods  than  one. 


The  man  of  genius  is  pre-eminently  the  servant  of  a  God  whose 
service  is  perfect  freedom.  The  so  called  terror — the  delirium 
tremens  of  responsibility  belongs,  I  believe,  rather  to  what  is 
called  talent,  especially  when  conjoined  with  a  fierce  desire  to 
parvenir,  as  the  French  say, — to  succeed. 

Your  man  of  genius  goes  about  looking  for  responsibility  ; 
and  when  he  finds  it,  he  takes  it  joyfully,  often  telling  you, 
somewhat  frankly,  that  he  is  the  man  for  it,  and  forgetting,  in 
the  fervor  of  his  volition,  that  modesty  which  the  copy-books 
have  conjoined  inseparably  with  merit.  He  not  only  promises 
largely,  magnificently,  but  he  tells  you  that  his  performance  is 
not  to  be  despised — Exegi  monumentum  cere  perennius  !  Rega- 
lique  situ  pyramidum  altius.  That's  the  way  he  talks  when 
he  is  communicative  and  in  good  humor  with  himself. 

I  believe  it  is  Ovid  who  shows  his  conviction  of  the  immor- 
tality of  the  soul,  by  loudly  defying  old  "  tempus  edax  rerum" 
to  strike  one  leaf  from  his  laurelled  brow. 

Dante  says,  that  he  writes  from  a  harmony  that  is  suona  dentro 

200  Fragments. 

— inside  of  him.  He  accuses  no  terrible  pressure  from  without, 
except  political  tyranny  and  want  of  bread.  Ealtrui  'pane — 
eating  the  crust  of  charity — that  is  his  complaint.  Shak- 
speare's  "  eye  in  a  fine  frenzy  rolling,"  rolled  from  the  fulness 
of  the  God  within,  not  from  fear  of  outward  lash  or  black 


I  am  afraid  that  some  of  our  critics,  with  their  stern  claims 
and  terrible  law,  have  swallowed  more  of  the  east  wind  than 
is  good  for  the  liver.  They  may  do  harm  with  this  reign  of 
terror.  Boys  of  genius  are  sprouting  in  every  direction,  by  all 
accounts.     Why  scare  them  in  this  way  ? 

Look  at  Robert  Burns  !     When  he  brought  forward  his  little 
specimens  of  the  utterance  of  genius,  the  dominant  intellect  of 
Britain  said,  "  It  is  naught !"     So  they  set  him  to  gauge  whis- 
key ;    yet,  when  he  had  gone  his  way,   "  straightway   they 
rejoiced,"  built  him  a  huge  monument,  and  bemoaned  him. 
So  far  from  making  any  stern  claim  upon  this  mind,  now 
known  as  the  very  jewel  of  Scotland,  the  dunderheads  never 
found  out  what  he  was  good  for  until  he  was  gone.     Burns 
hankered  and  cankered — he  confessed  it — but  it  was  not  for 
fear  of  not  getting  utterance:  it  was,  he  says,  "to  see  their 
cursed  pride."     They  made  stern  claims  of  some  kind  or  other, 
and  he  protested  against  them.     There  is  little  doubt  that  the 
man  saw  in  the  distance  the  big  marble  monument  that  was 
to  shelter  his  image.     He  would  gladly  have  exchanged  some 
tithe  of  its  future  outlay  and  splendor,  and  have  received  there- 

Fragments.  201 

for  a  cottage  for  bis  wife  and  bread  for  bis  bairns.  Wbat  ter- 
ror  inspired  bis  song  ?  If  I  mistake  not,  be  says,  roundly,  "  I 
rhyme  for  fun." 

I  believe  it  is  now  settled,  that  to  interlard  one's  talk  or 
written  language  with  French  phrases  and  scraps  of  Latin  or 
other  foreign  tongues,  is  essentially  vulgar  and  affected — still 
I  have  not  tried  to  break  myself  of  it,  partly  because  I  am  one 
of  those  men  who  do  not  easily  learn  new  habits,  and  partly  to 
repel— shake  off — and  trip  up  the  self-made  critics,  who  are  my 
especial  aversion.  When  I  say  self-made,  I  do  not  mean  such 
men  as  having  perceived  that  there  were  "  more  things  in  heaven 
than  on  earth,"  &c,  have  seriously  set  themselves  to  supply 
the  deficiency.  I  mean  the  truly  self-made  man,  who  is  not 
only  ignorant,  but  is  cheerfully  so,  who  has  kept  constantly 
within  that  narrow  circle  where  the  accident  of  birth  placed 
him,  and  where  strong  lungs  and  an  iron  stomach  have  made 
him  the  cock  of  the  walk.  I  have  generally  found  that  this 
sort  of  man,  in  making  himself,  never  forgets  the  important 
item  of  self-appreciation — nay,  it  is  often  the  only  part  of  the 
2:od-like  task  that  does  not  seem  to  me  to  have  been  hurried, 
botched,  and  made  a  mess  of.  .  I  had  hoped  to  have  increased 
these  citations  in  number  and  value,  with  assistance  of  the  Con- 
gressional library,  but  that,  alas !  is  gone,  having  been  quite 
burned  up,  in  consequence  of  the  economy  that  filled  its  halls 

with  some  forty  or  fifty  cords  of  painted  pine,  and  that  too,  in 


202  Fragments. 

a  building  where  the  soda-water  merchants  and  applewomen 
have  royal  vaults,  over  head  and  under  foot,  and  where  even 
the  crypts  and  outhouses  are  worthy  of  Genoa,  Venice,  or 

Stopping  here  and  there,  among  men  of  different  races, 
creeds,  and  forms  of  civilization,  I  have  become  inoculated,  to 
some  extent,  with  the  various  ways  of  thinking  of  those  about 
me,  always  retaining  nearly  the  same  proportion  of  original 
Yankee  conviction  to  after-thought,  that  you  will  find  of  matrix 
to  pebbles  in  the  pudding-stone  of  Roxbury,  Massachusetts. 

The  habit  of  working  in  stone  has  spoiled  me  for  debate.  I 
never  can  discuss  with  a  vigorous  and  resolute  antagonist. 
When  I  work  a  bit  of  clay  it  will,  to  a  certain  extent,  stay  put, 
as  the  saying  is.  Stone  also  is,  after  all,  a  soft  material.  If  I 
strike  off  a  bit  with  my  chisel,  it  stays  off  through  all  time ; 
but  when  I  answer  an  objection  in  politics  or  morals,  the  rogues 
state  it  over  again  in  another  shape  and  grow  personal — just 
as  the  wolf,  when  he  tried  the  lamb  at  the  brook-side  assizes, 
kept  making  new  indictments  and  drawing  nearer  to  him  all 
the  while. 

This  impossibility  of  getting  the  better  of  a  disputant  is  the 
real  secret,  I  take  it,  of  the  ultima  ratio  of  fire,  sword,  and  tor- 
ture. Hercules  cut  off  the  Hvdra's  heads,  but  he  was  obliged 
to  burn  the  stumps  to  prevent  their  sprouting,  and  all  opinion 

Fragments.  203 

is  a  Hydra's  head.  Uniformity  of  creed  is  only  to  be  realized 
by  mechanical  means.  If  you  would  have  men's  faith  as  relia- 
ble as  stone  you  must  petrify  them.  But  when  they  be  of 
stone,  other  men  may  throw  them  at  you  (see  the  history  of 
the  French  Revolution).  Perhaps  it  is  wiser  to  agree  to  differ, 
and  to  set  up  our  men  in  society  as  the  shipwrights  do  their 
masts,  with  somewhat  of  space  and  play,  lest  they  snap  and 
come  down  about  our  ears  if  put  to  too  strong  a  test.  Shrouds 
and  stays  are  good,  but  neither  sun-  nor  rain  respects  them. 
What  is  all  right  and  tight  to-day  will  be  rickety  to  morrow ! 

Serpens  nisi  Seiyentem  comedit  non  Jit  Draco. — The  brutes 
in  their  wrar,  as  in  their  truce,  obey  a  divine  law.  Men  also 
obey  a  divine  law  in  their  war  with  brutes,  as  in  their  truce. 
Now  the  hierarchies  and  higher- law  men  declare  that  another 
God  is  necessary  to  explain  the  battle  between  man  and  man. 
To  this  I  would  answer,  that  men  do  not  fight  about  arithmeti- 
cal questions;  they  do  not  fight  about  that  which  both  under- 
stand. When  men  fight,  therefore,  one  of  the  belligerents  at 
least  is  brutal,  perhaps  both  ;  in  either  case  there  is  a  brutal 
belligerent.  I  see  no  necessity  for  inventing  a  new  God  to  pre- 
side over  brutal  men ;  for,  though  man  may  manage  to  be 
thierischer  als  jedes  their,  he  can  scarce  surpass  them  all. 
Let  us  then  paraphrase  the  Horatian  precept  and  proclaim, — 
"  Nee  Diabolus  intersit,  nisi  dignus  vindice  nodus  inciderit" 

204  Fragments. 

English  writers,  even  of  a  high  class,  speak  complacently  of 
the  bull-dog  courage  of  their  masses.  They  parade  it  in  terro- 
rem.  Now,  bull-dogs  are  terrible  to  curs  and  mastiffs,  but 
when  they  see  men  they  see  their  lord. 

John  Bull,  in  his  Quarterly  Review,  after  bellowing  trium- 
phantly over  the  ten  carcases  of  Frenchmen  he  once  "  knocked 
over"  (Sic)  with  old  fashioned  smooth-bore,  and  saying  pithy 
things  of  the  capability  of  the  rifle  and  bayonet,  squeals  about 
the  cruel  invention  of  a  French  officer  for  throwing  into  his 
ships  a  flame  inevitable  and  inextinguishable.  Doth  he 
think  it  diabolical  ?  Let  him  pray  !  Perhaps  the  Frenchman 
thought  his  bull-dogs  diabolical,  and  has  prayed  first. 

At  Vienna,  I  heard  an  Austrian  say,  boastingly,  that  in  the 
next  war  with  France,  the  imperial  troops  would  be  found  to  be 
a  wall  of  granite.  A  Yankee  who  stood  there,  said,  quietly, 
"The  imperial  troops,  sir,  were  always  such  a  wall;  it  will 
never  be  an  impassable  barrier  to  Frenchmen  unless  you 
garnish  it  with — men." 

Perhaps  the  old  symbol  of  the  serpent  with  his  tail  in  his 
mouth,  means  man  seeking  self-knowledge  after  having  subju- 
gated sea  and  land ;  if  so,  perhaps  a  better  type  of  eternity 
could  not  have  been  invented.     I  thank  the  prophetic  seers  of 

Fragments.  205 

Egypt  that  they  made  the  circle  by  putting  the  tail  between 
the  teeth  ;  by  this  arrangement,  the  brain  overlooks  the  fun 
from  two  eyes.  The  circle  is  sometimes  sought  by  giving  the 
tail  a  double  turn  round  the  neck ;  thanks  to  God !  the  tail 
loses  its  power  when  the  brain  is  isolated  by  the  hug. 

When  Jove  made  the  anaconda's  head,  he  saw  the  eyes 
fixed  upon  a  bullock,  and  asked,  "Dost  thou  wish  a  tail?" 
"  Yea,  papa,  a  big  one."  "  Dost  thou  wish  a  fine  pair  of  legs  ?" 
"  No,  papa,  they  would  only  be  in  my  way ;  why  askest  thou  ?" 
"  Merely  to  test  thy  head,  my  boy.  Behold,  thou  art 
finished!"  "Alas,  I  am  small."  "3ut  unencumbered."  "I 
am  very  huno-rv."     "  Go  ahead  !" 

Jove  humored  the  ambition  of  the  hog,  and  made  him  a 
monumental  elephant.  The  hypercritical  quadruped  surveyed 
himself  in  a  pool,  and  came  back  shaking  his  ears  in  much  dis- 
gust. "  How  now,  thou  ponderous  one  ?"  "  Pater  andronte 
theonte  !  Did  I  not  ask  for  dignity,  that  I  might  stand  a 
monument  of  thy  own  greatness  and  wisdom  ?  Behold,  thou 
hast  given  me  two  tails  instead  of  one,  and  I  am  a  laughing- 
stock !"  "  My  child,"  said  the  pitying  God,  "  this  is  no  common 
tail,  but  a  marvellous  proboscis  !  Why  let  it  hang  thus  pendu- 
lous and  forlorn  ?  Throw  it  aloft !  Hold  it  vertical  and  rigid  ! 
Blow !     Behold,   thou   hast  a  spire  and  belfry   all   in  one !" 

2t>6  Fragments. 

"Truly  thou  art  great,  my  father;  I  will  sing  thy  praises  ever- 
more." The  elephant  now  repaired  to  the  hill-top,  took  his 
stand,  and  tossing  his  snout  into  the  sky,  commenced  his  hymn 
to  Jove.  He  was  the  glory  and  wonder  of  all  hogdom.  When 
hunger  came,  between  strophe  and  antistrophe,  he  managed  to 
trumpet  for  dinner.  "My  child,"  said  Jove  with  laughter,  "I 
cannot  afford  so  much  one-sided  magnificence.  Thy  nose  must 
come  down  and  attend  upon  thy  belly.  Behold,  thou  standest 
in  thine  own  ordure  !  Such  a  monument  as  thou  requires  two 
tails;  the  one  to  strike  the  flies  from  thy  flank,  the  other  to 
purvey  for  thy  maw.  Thou  shalt  find  it  supple  as  a  snake ; 
prehensile  as  monkey's  hand.  Fall  not,  my  son,  into  mono- 
mania. So  much  grandeur  and  immobility  can  only  exist  by  a 
mobile,  flexible,  sensitive  jack-of-all-trades  adjunct.  Know  that 
thy  snout  is  my  master-piece.  The  rest  of  thee  I  made  to 
please  thy  foolish  self;  but  for  this  snout  thy  dignity  would 
soon  starve." 

The  Egyptian  immortality  lost  in  flavor  and  color  what  it 
gained  in  duration.  Their  architecture  was  as  expressive  of 
impotent  aspiration  as  their  mummy.  They  exemplify  with 
their  conserved  carcases  and  perennial  clumsiness,  that  fear  of 
death  which,  mistrusting  God  or  believing  in  more  than  one,  is 
all  its  lifetime  subject  to  bondage. 

The  Egyptians  sought  immortality  by  passing  their  lives  in 

Fragments.  207 

hewing-  stone  cases  for  their  carcases,  not  altogether  in  vain, 
for  after  three  thousand  years,  the  faithful  granite  yields  us  the 
eternal  grin.  The  Greeks  put  their  bodies  in  the  fire ;  and 
their  lives  upon  papyrus  or  marble,  where  it  still  breathes  and 

There  be  dilettanti  who  think  that  art  can  utter  no  more, 
because  they  have  not  heard  aright  one  word  of  all  that  art 
hath  uttered.  If  any  man  studying  books  at  night,  conclude 
that  the  day  of  poetry  is  past,  let  him  rise  before  the  sun  and 
see  the  day  born,  and  he  will  feel  with  joy  that  God  still 

Having  lived  all  my  life  in  lands  where  people  looked  over 
their  shoulders  before  asking  what's  o'clock,  for  fear  that  they 
might  wake  the  suspicion  of  a  spy,  and  having,  from  time  to 
time,  read  books  published  here  at  home,  in  which  it  seemed 
to  me  that  speech  took  a  high,  wide,  and  deep  range,  going 
indeed  so  far  as  to  call  in  question  the  constitution  of  these 
States,  and  the  creed  of  a  majority  of  our  fellow-citizens,  I  pro- 
mised myself  the  satisfaction  of  blowing  off  the  steam  accumu- 
lated by  years  of  malcontent  silence,  without  let  or  hindrance. 
I  felt  all  the  safer  in  this  my  proposed  talk,  because  I  am  a  sin- 
cere and  hearty  adherent  to  the  distinctive  political  opinions  of 
my  country;  and  though  I  cannot,  of  course,  think  on  matters 

208  Fragments. 

of  faith  like  everybody,  I  allow  that  in  all  such  matters  "  much 
may  be  said  on  both  sides." 

The  real,  hidden,  not  outspoken  meaning  of  these  checks 
upon  the  freedom  of  speech,  would  seem  to  be  a  regret  that  he 
who  uses  it,  hath  ever  been  born,  or,  being  born  and  developed, 
that  he  doth  not  make  sufficient  haste  to  die. 

Whoever  will  compare  the  remarks  made  upon  Fenimore 
Cooper,  during  his  life  and  after  his  demise,  both  at  home  and 
abroad,  will  scarce  escape  the  conclusion  that  when  laid  in  his 
coffin  and  screwed  down,  he  was  just  where  many  wished  to 
have  him.  Had  he  followed  the  prudential  advice  of  some 
well-wishers,  his  admirers  would  have  been  merely  less  grieved, 
his  foes  less  gratified,  when  he  at  length  put  on  that  extreme 
quietness  of  manner  which  the  English  preach,  and  whose 
glory  is  that  from  it  there  is  nothing  to  hope  or  to  fear.  To 
assume  this  quietness  in  life,  would  for  him  have  been  suicide 
— for  "quiet  to  quick  bosoms  is  a  hell." 

I  understand  by  this  continual  order  to  keep  one's  feet  close 
together,  one's  elbows  close  to  the  side,  and  one's  voice  below 
the  breath,  simply  a  denial  of  the  right  to  live.  Surely,  there  is 
yet  room  enough  on  this  continent  for  an  individual  to  walk 
and  talk,  and  even  to  shout  and  run,  without  breaking  any 
one's  rest  or  endangering  public  rights. 

The  main  advantage  of  intercourse  and  society  has  always 
appeared  to  me  to  consist  herein,  that  by  uttering  one's  thought, 
feeling,  whim  if  you  will,  one  could  show  his  hand,  and  obtain 
perhaps  sympathy,  perhaps   instruction,  or   peradventure  the 

Fragments.  209 

knowledge  that  neither  was  to  be  hoped  for.  In  Europe  we  talk 
much  about  the  opera,  the  fashion,  the  weather,  and  the  deli- 
cacies of  the  season.  We  talk  of  topics  which  unite  as  many  as 
possible  of  a  mixed  company,  and  which  expose  no  one  to  the 
attention  of  the  police.  In  such  societies,  to  broach  political  sub- 
jects, to  speak  of  creeds,  or  to  mention  Washington,  would  be 
a  breach  of  manners  ;  because  these  are  not  safe  topics.  Some 
of  the  best  bred  and  most  refined  circles  in  Europe  use  all  this 
caution.  Let  no  one  fancy,  however,  that  he  can  win  his  entree 
into  such  company  by  tattle  about  music,  and  gastronomy. 
He  gets  no  entrance  there  without  having  been  tested  and 
stamped  elsewhere. 

I  regard  it  as  no  more  than  common  honesty  in  an  individual 
who  enters  any  society,  that  he  speak  his  thought  and  feeling, 
lest  he  be  called  to  join  a  procession  to  glorify  a  cause  he 
despises,  or  to  eat  abolition  bread  and  salt,  with  a  secret  south- 
ern leaning. 

The  great  charm  of  a  hospitable  entertainment  and  friendly 
greeting  lies  herein,  that  they  be  extended  to  ourselves,  by 
which  I  mean,  because  of  our  special  ism,  or  in  spite  of  it.  If 
I  keep  back  my  opinion,  and  get  invited  to  dine  thereby,  is  it 
not  a  trick  that  I  play  upon  Abraham  ?  Besides,  how  can  I 
be  sure  that  the  warmth  and  friction  of  talk  will  not  rouse  the 
voice  of  Jacob,  and  so  give  the  lie  to  the  hide  of  Esau  ?  Now,  the 
meanest  attitude  conceivable  by  me,  is  that  of  one  who  stands 
convicted  of  the  desire  to  cheat,  and  of  the  impotence  to  deceive. 


210  F  It  A  G  M  £  In  T  S  . 

I  write  my  opinions  more  willingly  than  I  speak  tliem  ; 
because,  being  many  of  them  not  strictly  demonstrable,  they 
tend  to  rouse  the  individual  feeling  of  him  who  uttereth  them. 
Mathematical  and  physical  truths  are  proven,  explained,  and 
developed  by  a  tide  of  talk  which,  like  a  placid  sea,  rolls  its 
deep  waters  gently  but  irresistibly  shorewards.  Moral,  political, 
and  economical  truths  are  defended  by  language  which,  like 
the  roller  of  the  beach,  meeting  resistance  from  below,  gets  up 
with  sudden  vivacity,  and  combs  and  breaks  with  foam  and 
roar.  A  man  is  never  so  well  prepared  to  do  justice  to  Euclid 
as  in  the  morning,  and  with  empty  stomach;  he  talks  politics 
and  religion  with  vigor,  when  the  ladies  are  withdrawn  and 
the  cloth  is  removed. 

It  is  often  necessary  to  try  one's  opinions  on  several  hearers, 
in  order  to  see  what  sort  of  interests  and  aspirations  are 
offended  by  them.  I  should  be  ashamed  to  utter  twice  what 
were  once  condemned  by  good  men  and  true  of  opposite  poli- 
tics and  different  creeds  ;  but  a  one-sided  condemnation  hath 
no  terrors  for  me. 

There  is  a  form  of  speech  which  aspires,  by  breadth  of  sym- 
pathy, to  live  peaceably  with  all  men.  In  certain  states  of 
society,  this  temper  is  ornamental  and  useful ;  but  if  perse- 
vered in  through  thick  and  thin,  it  is  apt  to  incur  the  charge 
of  a  fondness  for  the  "  mess,"  and  an  aversion  for  the  "  watch." 

I  have  always  heard  Thorwaldsen,  Eastlake,  Gerard,  De  la 

Frag  m  Ens.  211 

Roche,  Gibson,  Rauch,  Teneranni,  Bienaime,  speak  with  a  cer- 
tain  reserve  and  caution  of  a  new   work  by  an  able  hand. 
They  seem  to  have  an  instinctive  sense  that  new  works,  though 
they  be  works  of  a  Dante  or  a  Shakspeare,  do  not  always  find 
their  level  with  the  "  ignorant  present ;"  they  get  it  often  when, 
as  Lord  Bacon  says,  "some  time  be  passed  away."     Even  when 
sure  that  a  "  miss"  has  been  made,  they  beget  a  softness  that 
doth  give  a  smoothness  to  their  sorrow.     "When  Dante  speaks 
of  Homer  as  the  poet,  "  che  sovra  ogni  altro  come  aquila  vola" 
one  would  suppose  that  he  had  no  room  for  other  idols,  yet  in 
the  presence  of  Virgil's  moonlight  beauty  doth  he  kneel  out- 
right, call  him  his  "  master,"  and  say  that  from  his  golden 
page  came  the  fair  style  that  shed  honor  on  his  own  Tuscan 
town.     Lo  !  he  hath  found  another  eagle  !     This  is  not  exactly 
Shylock  justice,  or  New  England  logic  perhaps,  but  it  is  true 
to  the  heart  of  man  nevertheless. 

Fra  Beato  Angelico  was  unknown  and  unappreciated  by 
whole  schools  of  able  modem  painters.  Read  all  that  Eng- 
lishmen have  written  on  art,  up  to  Flaxman's  time,  and  you 
will  find  no  trace  of  his  deathless  fame.  Read  all  that  French 
criticism  has  uttered  (and  French  criticism  is  not  to  be 
despised),  and  you  will  see  that  Fra  Beato's  paradise  is  to  them 
a  terra  incognita.  Read  the  shallow  babble  about  the  hard- 
ness of  Perugino  in  the  old  English  works.  It  is  wrong  to  be 
so  fast  in  our  verdicts. 

212  Fragments. 

Genius  would  seem  to  make  immense  efforts  almost  uncon- 
sciously, and  to  keep  a  large  reserve  out  of  the  figlit  altogether. 
Shakspeare  went  into  the  country  and  remained  still.  He  has 
told  us  that  he  knew  his  name  would  have  a  life  where  life  is 
most  active,  "  even  in  the  mouths  of  men."  Lord  Bacon,  too, 
pointed  out  his  future  station  in  the  world's  opinion,  adding, 
mournfully,  that  it  must  be  withheld  "  until  some  time  be 
passed  away."  This  disposition  on  the  part  of  mediocrity  to 
harry,  and  scourge,  and  flout  men  of  creative  power,  looks  more 
like  the  result,  of  a  terrible  law  than  anything  else  in  the  annals 
of  genius.  Still,  it  is  too  general  not  to  be  an  ordinance  of 
God.  Like  loves  like,  and  it  requires  the  collective  heart  of 
man  to  make  a  quorum  to  judge  the  broad,  the  deep,  the 
genial  soul.  The  man  of  vast  power  of  mind  is  like  the  for- 
tress full  of  armed  hosts,  with  spears  glittering  over  the  turret, 
with  pointed  artillery  and  burning  match.  We  sit  down  to 
sketch  it  and  glorify  it  more  cordially,  when  the  portcullis 
chain  is  broken,  the  guns  are  spiked,  and  the  ivy  and  the  owl 
have  possession  of  its  towers. 





Greenough's  great  work  has  surpassed  my  expectations,  high 
as  they  were.  It  is  truly  sublime.  The  statue  is  of  colossal 
grandeur ;  about  twice  the  size  of  life.  The  hero  is  represented 
in  a  sitting  posture.  A  loose  drapery  covers  the  lower  part  of 
the  figure,  and  is  carried  up  over  the  right  arm,  which  is 
extended,  with  the  elbow  bent,  and  the  forefinger  of  the  hand 
pointed  upwards.  The  left  arm  is  stretched  out  a  little  above 
the  thigh  ;  and  the  hand  holds  a  Roman  sword  reversed.  The 
design  of  the  artist  was,  of  course,  to  indicate  the  ascendency 
of  the  civic  and  humane  over  the  military  virtues,  which  dis- 
tinguished the  whole  career  of  Washington,  and  which  form 
the  great  glory  of  his  character.  It  was  not  intended  to  bring 
before  the  eye  the  precise  circumstance  under  which  he  resigned 
his  commission  as  commander-in-chief.  This  would  have 
required  a  standing  posture  and  a  modern  military  costume ; 
and,  without  an  accompanying  group  of  members  of  Congress, 
would  have  been  an  incomplete  work.     The  sword  reversed. 

216  Statue    of    Washington. 

and  the  finger  pointed  upwards,  indicate  the  moral  sentiment, 
of  which  the  resignation  of  his  commission,  as  commander-in- 
chief,  was  the  strongest  evidence,  without  the  details,  which 
were  inconsistent  with  the  general  plan.  The  face  is  that  of 
Stuart's  portraits  modified  so  as  to  exhibit  the  highest  point  of 
manly  vigor  and  maturity.  Though  not  corresponding  exactlv 
with  any  of  the  existing  portraits,  it  is  one  of  the  aspects  which 
the  countenance  of  Washington  must  necessarily  have  worn  in 
the  course  of  his  progress  through  life,  and  is  obviously  the 
proper  one  for-.^he  purpose.  In  expression,  the  countenance  is 
admirably  adjusted  to  the  character  of  the  subject  and  the 
intention  of  the  work.  It  is  stamped  with  dignity,  and  radiant 
with  benevolence  and  moral  beauty.  The  execution  is  finished 
to  the  extreme  point  of  perfection,  as  well  in  the  accessories  as 
in  the  statue  itself.  The  seat  is  a  massy  arm-chair,  of  antique 
form  and  large  dimensions,  the  sides  of  which  are  covered  with 
exquisitely  wrought  bas-reliefs.  The  subject  of  one  is  the  infant 
Hercules  strangling  the  serpent  in  his  cradle;  that  of  the 
other,  Apollo  guiding  the  four  steeds  that  draw  the  chariot  of 
the  sun.  The  back  of  the  chair  is  of  open  work.  At  the  left 
corner  is  placed  a  small  statue  of  Columbus,  holding  in  his 
hand  a  sphere,  which  he  is  examining  with  fixed  attention  :  at 
the  right  corner  is  a  similar  small  statue  of  an  Indian  chief. 
The  effect  of  these  comparatively  diminutive  images  is  to 
heighten  by  contrast  the  impression  of  grandeur,  which  is  made 
by  the  principal  figure.  The  work  stands  upon  a  square  block 
of  granite,  which  bears  upon  its  front  and  two  sides,  as  an 

Statue    of    Washington.  217 

inscription,  the  well  known  language  of  tlic  resolution,  adopted 
in  Congress  upon  the  receipt  of  the  intelligence  of  Washing- 
ton's death  :  "  First  in  war :  first  in  peace  :  first  in  the  hearts 
of  his  countrymen."  On  the  back  of  the  statue,  just  above  the 
top  of  the  chair,  is  placed  another  inscription  in  Latin,  which  is 

as  follows : 

Simulacrum  istud 

Ad  magnum  Libertatis  exemplum 

]N"ec  sine  ipsa  duratnrmn 

Horatius  Greonongh 


This  inscription  is  not  very  felicitous.  Independently  of  the 
objections  that  have  been  made  to  the  grammar  of  the  faeiebat, 
which,  though  defended  on  classical  authority,  does  not  strike 
me  as  the  natural  form,  the  ideas  are  hardly  expressed  with 
sufficient  distinctness,  and,  so  for  as  they  can  be  gathered,  are 
not  particularly  appropriate.  It  is  not  easy  to  see  in  what  pre- 
cise or  correct  understanding  of  the  terms  Washington  can  be 
called  an  "  example  of  liberty  ;"  and  admitting  that,  by  a  rather 
latitudinous  construction,  this  phrase  may  be  supposed  to  mean 
that  his  conduct  is  a  proper  example  for  the  imitation  of  the 
friends  of  liberty,  it  is  still  more  difficult  to  imagine  why  a 
statue  of  Washington  may  not  be  preserved  though  liberty 
should  perish.  Two  thousand  years  have  elapsed  since  the  fall 
of  Grecian  and  Roman  libertv,  but  Demosthenes  and  Cicero 
still  survive  in  their  "all  but  living  busts,"  as  well  as  in  their 
"  thoughts  that  breathe  and  words  that  burn."     The  precise 

218  Statue    of    Washington. 

object  of  this  description  would,  perhaps,  have  been  sufficiently 
provided  for  by  a  simple  indication  of  the  name  of  the  sculptor 
and  of  the  circumstances  under  which  the  work  was  ordered 
and  executed.  The  statue  was  originally  placed  in  the  Rotunda 
of  the  Capitol ;  but  the  light  being  found  unfavorable,  it  was 
removed  to  a  temporary  building  in  the  garden,  where  it  now 
stands.  The  light  is  better  than  before,  but  the  meanness  of 
the  building  forms  an  unpleasant  contrast  with  the  grandeur  of 
the  work,  and  it  is  much  to  be  desired  that  a  more  suitable 
place  of  deposit  may  soon  be  found  for  a  monument  so  worthy 
of  the  great  subject,  and  so  honorable  to  the  artist  and  the 

This  magnificent  product  of  genius  does  not  seem  to  be 
appreciated  at  its  full  value  in  this  metropolis  of  "  the  freest 
and  most  enlightened  people  on  the  globe."  I  have  met  with 
few  persons  here  who  have  spoken  of  it  in  terms  of  strong  or 
even  moderate  satisfaction.  Every  one  has  some  fault  to  point 
out,  that  appears  to  withdraw  his  attention  entirely  from  the 
grandeur  and  beauty  of  the  whole,  which,  when  they  are 
pressed  upon  him,  he  is  compelled  to  acknowledge.  One  is 
dissatisfied  that  the  figure  is  colossal ;  another  that  the  face  is 
not  an  exact  copy  of  Stuart's  portrait ;  a  third,  that  the  posture 
is  sitting  and  not  standing;  a  fourth,  that  there  is  a  want  of 
repose  in  the  general  expression  ;  a  fifth,  that  one  of  the  ankles 
is  incorrectly  modelled  ;  and  so  of  the  rest.  Most  of  these 
objections  proceed,  as  I  have  heard  them  stated,  from  persons 
who  would  think  themselves  wronged  if  their  sensibility  to  the 

Statue    of    Washington.  219 

grand  and  beautiful  in  nature  and  art  were  called  in  question. 
But  how  feeble  must  this  quality  be  in  one  who  can  see  nothing 
in  so  splendid  a  monument  but  some  trilling  real  or  imaginary 
fault!  I  should  not  blame  any  one  for  indicating  and  insisting 
on  what  he  might  consider  as  blemishes,  if  he  were  also  to 
exhibit  a  proper  feeling  for  the  acknowledged  merits  of  the 
work  :  but  I  almost  lose  patience  when  I  hear  a  person,  not 
without  some  pretensions  to  good  taste,  after  a  visit  of  an  hour 
to  the  statue,  making  no  other  remark  than  that  one  of  the 
ankles  is  incorrectly  modelled ;  an  error  which,  after  a  careful 
examination  for  the  express  purpose,  I  have  been  wholly  unable 
to  discover.  This  remark  is  nearly  a  repetition  of  the  one  made 
by  the  Athenian  cobbler,  upon  the  first  exhibition  of  one  of  the 
celebrated  Venuses  of  antiquity — that  there  was  a  wrong  stitch 
in  one  of  her  sandals.  It  affords  a  curious,  though  not  very 
agreeable  proof,  how  exactly  human  nature  repeats  itself  under 
similar  circumstances,  even  to  the  slightest  and  apparently  most 
accidental  particulars. 

The  most  satisfactory  expression  of  feeling  that  I  have  met 
with  here,  in  regard  to  the  statue,  was  prompted  by  the  finer 
and  truer  sensibility  inherent  in  the  heart  of  woman.  It  pro- 
ceeded from  a  company  of  ladies  whom  I  happened  to  encoun- 
ter on  my  first  visit  to  the  building  that  contains  this  great 
national  monument.  They  were  strangers  to  me,  and  had  not 
the  air  of  persons  belonging  to  the  fashionable  coteries  of  our 
large  cities ;  but  they  evidently  possessed — what  is  much  more 
important — cultivated  minds,  and  a  keen  susceptibility  to  the 

220  Statue    of    Washington. 

influence  of  natural  and  moral  beauty.  They  appeared  to  have 
been  travelling  extensively,  and  one  of  them  had  under  her 
arm  a  large  sketch-book.  They  expressed  in  various  forms  the 
highest  admiration  of  the  statue,  and  one  of  them  finally 
remarked,  as  a  sort  of  summary  of  the  whole,  that  it  produced 
upon  her  mind  a  stronger  impression  of  sublimity  and  grandeur 
than  she  had  received  from  the  cataract  of  Niagara. 

The  objections  above  mentioned  to  the  size,  attitude,  and 
costume  of  the  statue,  and  to  the  character  of  the  features,  pro- 
ceed upon  the  supposition,  that  it  was  the  interest  of  the  artist 
to  make  the  nearest  possible  approach  to  the  person  and  coun- 
tenance of  Washington,  as  represented  in  the  most  authentic 
portraits  and  statues ;  and  in  costume,  to  the  dress  that  he  actu- 
ally wore.  This  supposition  is  obviously  an  erroneous  one. 
These  are  matters  which  have  their  importance  as  points  of 
historical  information — especially  in  connexion  with  a  character 
of  so  much  interest.  But  the  object  of  the  artist,  in  a  work  of 
this  kind,  is  much  older  than  that  of  satisfying  curiosity  upon 
these  particulars.  It  was,  as  it  should  have  been,  his  purpose 
to  call  forth,  in  the  highest  possible  degree,  the  sentiment  of 
the  moral  sublime,  which  the  contemplation  of  the  character  of 
Washington  is  fitted  to  excite.  This  purpose  required  such  a 
representation  of  his  person,  for  instance,  as,  consistently  with 
truth  to  nature,  would  tend  most  strongly  to  produce  this 
result.  A  servile  adherence  to  the  existing  portraits  is  not 
essential  to  the  accomplishment  of  such  a  purpose,  and  might 
even  be  directly  opposed  to  it ;  as,  for  example,  if  these  had 

Statue    of     Washington.  221 

been  executed  in  the  early  youth  or  extreme  old  age  of  the 
subject.  Still  less  would  it  be  necessary  to  preserve  the  cos- 
tume of  the  period,  which  is  already  out  of  fashion,  and  for 
every  subject,  except  the  satisfaction  of  antiquarian  curiosity, 
entirely  unsuitable  for  effect  in  sculpture.  The  colossal  size — 
the  antique  costume — the  more  youthful  air  of  the  face — are 
circumstances  which,  without  materially  impairing  the  truth  to 
nature,  increase  very  much  the  moral  impression,  and,  instead 
of  furnishing  grounds  for  objection,  are  positive  merits  of  high 

The  question  betwen  a  sitting  and  a  standing  posture  is  sub- 
stantially the  same  as  whether  the  subject  was  to  be  presented 
under  a  civil  or  a  military  aspect.  In  the  latter  case,  a  stand- 
ing posture  would  undoubtedly  have  been  preferable.  But  if  the 
ascendency,  given  by  Washington  through  his  whole  career  to 
the  virtues  of  the  patriot  citizen  over  the  talents  of  the  military 
chieftain,  was  the  noblest  trait  in  his  character,  "and  if  it  was  the 
duty  of  the  artist  to  exhibit  him,  on  this  occasion,  under  the 
circumstances  in  which  he  appeared,  in  real  life,  to  the  greatest 
advantage,  then  the  civil  aspect  of  the  subject,  and  with  it  the 
sitting  posture,  like  the  other  particulars  that  have  been  men- 
tioned, instead  of  being  a  ground  of  objection,  is  a  high  posi- 
tive merit. 

It  has  been  mentioned  in  private,  as  an  objection  made  by  a 
person  whose  judgment  in  some  respects  would  be  considered 
as  entitled  to  respect,  that  there  is  a  want  of  repose  in  the  atti- 
tude.    The  arms  are  extended  in  a  way  in  which  they  could 

222  Statue    of    Washington. 

not  be  placed  for  any  length  of  time  without  producing  fatigue  ; 
and  we  feel,  it  is  said,  the  same  sort  of  uneasiness  on  witnessing 
this  attitude  in  a  statue  that  we  should  if  it  were  maintained 
permanently  by  a  living  person  in  our  presence. 

It  is  rather  difficult  to  comprehend  the  precise  meaning  of 
this  objection  as  applied  to  the  statue  of  Washington.  When 
it  is  the  intention  of  the  artist  to  express  repose,  the  indications 
of  activity,  of  any  kind,  are,  of  course,  out  of  place.  Where  it 
is  intended  to  express  activity,  the  indications  of  repose  would, 
for  the  same  reason,  be  incongruous  with  the  subject.  It  is  no 
more  an  objection  to  the  statue  of  Washington  that  the  arms 
are  placed  in  an  attitude  which,  after  a  short  time,  would 
become  fatiguing  to  a  living  person,  than  it  is  an  objection  to 
the  antique  group  of  Laocoon  that  the  muscles  of  a  living  man 
could  not  remain  more  than  a  few  minutes  in  the  state  of 
extreme  tension,  indicated  in  that  celebrated  work,  without 
convulsions,  or  to  the  Apollo  Belvidere,  that  he  stands,  with  foot 
drawn  back  and  arm  extended,  in  the  position  of  an  archer 
who  has  just  discharged  an  arrow  from  his  bow.  In  the 
famous  equestrian  statue  of  Peter  the  Great,  at  St.  Petersburg, 
the  horse  is  rearing  on  his  hinder  legs,  while  the  fore  legs 
remain  suspended  in  the  air  at  some  distance  from  the  ground. 
This  is  an  attitude  which  could  not  be  maintained  by  a  living 
horse  for  more  than  two  or  three  seconds ;  but,  far  from  being 
made  a  ground  of  objection  to  the  work,  it  has  been  regarded 
as  its  greatest  merit,  and  as  the  precise  quality  which  has  given 
it  the  character  of  being  the  finest  equestrian  statue  in  Europe. 

Statue    of    Washington.  223 

It  was  not  the  design  of  the  artist  to  represent  his  subject  in 
a  state  of  repose.  On  the  contrary,  the  obvious  intention  is  to 
exhibit  the  noblest  trait  in  his  intellectual  and  moral  character. 
I  mean  his  habitual  control  over  all  the  irregular  propensities 
of  his  nature,  at  the  point  of  time  when  it  reached  its  fullest 
active  development.  In  his  practical  career,  this  point  was 
indicated  by  the  resignation  of  his  commission,  as  commander- 
in-chief,  into  the  hands  of  the  President  of  Congress.  But  that 
was  a  scene  which  comes  within  the  province  of  painting  rather 
than  sculpture.  A  group  so  vast  is  beyond  the  reach  of  the 
chisel.  It  was  the  difficult  duty  of  the  artist  to  embody  the 
sentiment  which  governed  the  conduct  of  Washington  on  that 
occasion,  in  a  single  figure.  His  success  in  conquering  this 
difficulty,  and  producing,  by  a  single  figure,  a  moral  emotion, 
superior,  probably,  to  any  that  could  be  called  forth  by  the 
finest  painting  of  the  scene  before  Congress,  is  one  of  the 
noblest  triumphs  of  his  noble  art.  To  say  that  the  work 
indicates  activity  and  not  repose,  is  only  saying,  in  other  words, 
that  it  was  executed  in  conformity  to  the  leading  point  in  a 
plan,  which  was  suggested,  or  rather  imperiously  dictated,  by 
the  nature  of  the  subject. 

It  is  rather  unpleasant  to  be  compelled,  in  commenting  on 
this  splendid  effort  of  genius,  to  meet  such  objections  as  these, 
instead  of  joining  in  the  general  expression  of  mingled  admira- 
tion and  delight  which  it  ought  to  elicit  from  the  whole  public. 
I  make  no  pretensions  to  connoisseurship  in  the  art  of  sculp- 
ture, and  judge  of  the  merit  of  the  work  merely  by  the  impres- 

224  Statue    of    Washington. 

sion  which  it  makes  upon  my  own  mind;  but  I  can  say  for 
myself,  that  after  seeing  the  most  celebrated  specimens  o 
ancient  and  modern  sculpture  to  be  found  in  Europe,  including 
the  Laocoon  and  the  Apollo  Belvidere,  with  the  finest  produc- 
tions of  Canova,  Thorwaldsen,  Sergell,  and  Chantry,  1  consider 
the  Washington  of  Greenough  as  superior  to  any  of  them,  and 
as  the  master-piece  of  the  art.  The  hint  seems  to  have  been 
taken  from  the  Olympian  Jupiter  of  Phidias,  who  said  himself 
that  he  had  caught  the  inspiration  under  which  he  conceived 
the  plan  of  that  great  glory  of  ancient  sculpture,  from  a  passage 
in  the  Iliad.  In  this  way  the  noble  work  of  Greenough  con- 
nects itself,  by  the  legitimate  filiation  of  kindred  genius,  trans- 
mitting its  magnetic  impulses  through  the  long  lines  of  inter- 
vening centuries,  with  the  poetry  of  Homer.  The  vast  dimen- 
sions of  the  Jupiter  of  Phidias  may  have  made  it  to  the  eye  a 
more  imposing  and  majestic  monument;  but  if  the  voluntary 
submission  of  transcendent  power  to  the  moral  law  of  duty  be, 
as  it  certainly  is,  a  more  sublime  spectacle  than  any  positive 
exercise  of  the  same  power  over  inferior  natures,  then  the  sub- 
ject of  the  American  sculptor  is  more  truly  divine  than  that  of 
his  illustrious  prototype  in  Greece.  When  Jupiter  shakes 
Olympus  with  his  nod,  the  imagination  is  affected  by  a  grand 
display  of  energy,  but  the  heart  remains  untouched.  When 
Washington,  with  an  empire  in  his  grasp,  resigns  his  sword  to 
the  President  of  Congress,  admiration  of  his  great  intellectual 
power  is  mingled  with  the  deepest  emotions  of  delightful  sym- 
pathy, and  we  involuntarily  exclaim  with  one  of  the  characters 

Statue    of    Washington.  225 

in  a  scene  of  much  less  importance,  as  depicted  by  an  elegant 
female  writer :  "  There  spoke  the  true  thing ;  now  my  own 
heart  is  satisfied." 

The  present  location  of  the  statue  is,  of  course,  merely  provi- 
sional. It  is  much  to  be  regretted  that  the  light  in  the 
Rotunda  was  found  to  be  unfavorable,  as  there  is  no  other  hall 
in  any  of  the  buildings  belonging  to  the  Union  sufficiently  lofty 
and  extensive  to  become  a  suitable,  permanent  place  of  deposit 
for  this  monument.  How,  when,  and  where,  such  a  one  shall 
be  provided  is  a  problem  of  rather  difficult  solution.  If,  as  has 
sometimes  been  suggested,  the  patrimonial  estate  of  Washing- 
ton, at  Mount  Vernon,  should  ever  be  purchased  by  the  coun- 
try, and  a  public  building  erected  there  to  serve  as  a  sort  of 
National  Mausoleum,  or  Western  Westminster  Abbey,  the 
statue  would  become,  of  course,  its  principal  ornament.  But 
the  execution  of  this  plan,  should  it  ever  be  realized,  is  proba- 
bly reserved  for  the  good  taste  and  liberality  of  some  future 
generation.  In  the  meanwhile,  the  noblest  achievement  of  the 
art  of  sculpture,  dedicated  to  the  memory  of  the  greatest  man 
that  ever  lived  in  the  tide  of  time,  will  be  permitted  by  a  coun- 
try which  received  from  his  hands  gifts  no  less  precious  than 
Independence  and  Liberty,  to  take  up  its  abode  in  a  paltry 



[fkom  "scenes  and  thoughts  in  ecropk."] 

Among  the  studios  of  living  Artists,  the  most  attractive  natu- 
rally to  an  American,  are  those  of  his  fellow  countrymen.  Nor 
do  they  need  national  partiality  to  make  them  attractive.  The 
first  American  who  gained  a  reputation  in  the  severest  of 
the  Fine  Arts  was  Greexough.  For  some  years  he  was  the 
only  sculptor  we  had,  and  worthily  did  he  lead  the  van  in  a 
field  where  triumphs  awaited  us.  I  happened,  five  or  six 
years  ago,  to  travel  from  Boston  southward  with  him  and 
Powers,  and  heard  Greenough  then  warmly  second  Powers' 
inclination,  and  urge  him  to  hasten  to  Italy.  Powers  was 
soon  followed  by  Clevenger,  who,  in  turn,  received  from  him 
encourao-injy  words.  The  three  are  now  workinc;  here  harmo- 
niously  together. 

Artists  of  merit  have  seldom  much  to  show  at  their  rooms ; 
for  their  works  are  either  made  to  order,  and  sent  to  their  des- 
tinations as  fast  as  finished,  or  thev  are  sold  almost  as  soon 
as  seen.  Sculptors  have  an  advantage  over  painters,  inas- 
much as  they  retain  the  plaster  casts  after  which  each  work  is 
chiselled  in  marble.     As    Greenough    does  not  always  finish 

A    Visit   to    Greenough's   Studio.     227 

the  clay  model  up  to  the  full  design  in  his  mind,  hut  leaves  the 
final  touches  to  the  chisel  itself,  he  is  not  forward  to  exhibit 
his  casts  taken  from  the  clay,  the  prototypes  of  the  forms  that 
have  been  distributed  to  different  quarters  of  the  world.  He 
has  just  now  in  his  studio,  recently  finished  in  marble  for  a 
Hungarian  nobleman,  an  exquisite  figure  of  a  child,  seated  on 
a  bank  gazing  at  a  butterfly,  that  has  just  lighted  on  the  back 
of  its  upraised  hand.  In  the  conception  there  is  that  union  of 
simplicity  and  significance,  so  requisite  to  make  a  work  of 
plastic  Art,  especially  of  sculpture,  effective,  and  which  denotes 
the  genial  Artist.  The  attitude  of  the  figure  has  the  pliable 
grace  of  unconscious  childhood;  the  limbs  are  nicely  wrought; 
and  the  intelligence,  curiosity,  delight,  implied  and  expressed, 
in  its  gaze  at  the  beautiful  little  winged  wonder  before  it, 
impart  vividly  to  the  work  the  moral  element ;  wanting  the 
which,  a  production,  otherwise  commendable,  is  not  lifted  up 
to  one  of  the  high  platforms  of  Art.  The  mind  of  the  specta- 
tor is  drawn  into  that  of  the  beautiful  child,  whose  inmost 
faculties  are  visibly  budding  in  the  effort  to  take  in  the  phe- 
nomenon before  it.  The  perfect  bodily  stillness  of  the  little 
flexible  figure,  under  the  control  of  its  mental  intentness,  is 
denoted  by  the  coming  forth  of  a  lizard  from  the  side  of  the 
bank.  This  is  one  of  those  delicate  touches  whereby  the  artist 
knows  how  to  beautify  and  heighten  the  chief  effect. 

Another  work  of  high  character,  which  Greenough  is  just 
about  to  finish  in  marble,  is  a  head  of  Lucifer,  of  colossal 
size.     The  countenance  has  the  beauty  of  an  archangel,  with  the 

228    A    Visit    to    Greenough's    Studio. 

hard,  uncertain  look  of  an  archangel  fallen.  Here  is  a  noble 
mould  not  filled  up  with  the  expression  commensurate  to  it. 
There  is  no  exaggeration  to  impress  the  beholder  at  once  with 
the  malevolence  of  the  original  which  the  sculptor  had  in  his 
imagination.  The  sinister  nature  lies  concealed,  as  it  were,  in 
the  features,  and  comes  out  gradually,  after  they  have  been 
some  time  contemplated.  The  beauty  of  the  countenance  is 
not  yet  blasted  by  the  deformity  of  the  mind. 

Greenough's  Washington  had  left  Italy  before  my  arrival  in 
Florence.  By  those  best  qualified  to  judge,  it  was  here 
esteemed  a  fine  work.  Let  me  say  a  few  words  about  the 
nudity  of  this  statue,  for  which  it  has  been  much  censured  in 

Washington  exemplifies  the  might  of  principle.  He  was  a 
great  man  without  ambition,  and  the  absence  of  ambition  was 
a  chief  source  of  his  greatness.  The  grandeur  of  his  character 
is  infinitely  amplified  by  its  abstract  quality ;  that  is,  by  its 
cleanness  from  all  personality.  Patriotism,  resting  on  inte- 
grity of  soul  and  broad  massive  intellect,  is  in  him  uniquely 
embodied.  The  purity  and  elevation  of  his  nature  were  the 
basis  of  his  success.  Had  his  rare  military  and  civil  genius 
been  united  to  the  selfishness  of  a  Cromwell,  they  would  have 
lost  much  of  their  effectiveness  upon  a  generation  warring  for 
the  rights  of  man.  Not  these,  but  the  unexampled  union  of 
these  with  uprightness,  with  stainless  disinterestedness,  made 
him  Washington.  If  the  Artist  clothes  him  with  the  toga  of 
civil  authority,  he  represents  the  great  statesman ;  if  with  uni- 

A    Visit    to    Greenough's    Studio.    229 

form  and  spurs,  the  great  General.  Representing  him  in 
either  of  these  characters,  he  gives  preference  to  the  one  over 
the  other,  and  his  image  of  Washington  is  incomplete,  for  he 
was  both.  But  he  was  more  than  either  or  both ;  he  was  a 
truly  great  man,  in  whom  statesmanship  and  generalship  were 
subordinate  to  supreme  nobleness  of  mind  and  moral  power. 
The  majesty  of  his  nature,  the  immortality  of  his  name,  as  of 
one  combining  the  morally  sublime  with  commanding  practical 
genius,  demand  the  purest  form  of  artistic  representation, — the 
nude.  To  invest  the  colossal  marble  image  of  so  towering,  so 
everlasting  a  man,  with  the  insignia  of  temporary  office,  is  to 
fail  in  presenting  a  complete  image  of  him.  Washington,  to 
be  best  seen,  ought  to  be  beheld,  not  as  he  came  from  the 
hand  of  the  tailor,  but  as  he  came  from  the  hand  of  God. 
Thus,  the  image  of  him  will  be  at  once  real  and  ideal. 

That  Greenough's  fellow-countrymen,  by  whose  order  this 
statue  was  made,  would  have  preferred  it  draped,  ought  to  be 
of  no  weight,  even  if  such  a  wish  had  accompanied  the  order. 
To  the  true  Artist,  the  laws  of  Art  are  supreme  against  all 
wishes  or  commands.  He  is  the  servant  of  Art  only.  If, 
bending  to  the  uninformed  will  of  his  employers,  he  executes 
commissions  in  a  way  that  is  counter  to  the  requirements  of 
Art,  he  sinks  from  the  Artist  into  the  artisan.  Nor  can  he,  by 
stooping  to  uncultivated  tastes,  popularize  Art ;  he  deadens  it, 
and  so  makes  it  ineffective.  But  by  presenting  it  to  the  gene- 
ral gaze  in  its  severe  simplicity,  and  thus,  through  grandeur 
and  beauty  of  form,  lifting  the  beholder  up  into  the  ideal 

230    A    Visit    to    Greenough's    Studio. 

region  of  Art. — by  this  means  he  can  popularize  it.  He  gra- 
dually awakens  and  creates  a  love  for  it,  and  thus  he  gains  a 
wide  substantial  support  to  Art  in  the  sympathy  for  it  engen- 
dered, the  which  is  the  only  true  furtherance  from  without  that 
the  Artist  can  receive. 

A  statue,  which  is  a  genuine  work  of  Art,  cannot  be  appre- 
ciated,— nay,  cannot  be  seen  without  thought.  The  imagina- 
tion must  be  active  in  the  beholder,  must  work  with  the  per- 
ception. Otherwise,  what  he  looks  at,  is  to  him  only  a  super- 
ficial piece  of  handicraft.  The  form  before  him  should  breed 
in  him  conjecture  of  its  inward  nature  and  capacity,  and  by  its 
beauty  or  stamp  of  intellect  and  soul,  lead  him  up  into  the 
domain  of  human  possibilities.  The  majestic  head  and  figure 
of  Washington  will  reveal  and  confirm  the  greatness  of  his 
character,  for  the  body  is  the  physiognomy  of  the  mind.  That 
broad  mould  of  limbs,  that  stern  calmness,  that  dignity  of  brow, 
will  carry  the  mind  beyond  the  scenes  of  the  revolution,  and 
swell  the  heart  with  thoughts  and  hopes  of  the  nobleness  and 
destiny  of  man.  Let  the  beholder  contemplate  this  great 
statue  calmly  and  thoughtfully  ;  let  him,  by  dint  of  contem- 
plation, raise  himself  up  to  the  point  of  view  of  the  artist,  and 
it  will  have  on  him  something  of  this  high  effect.  He  will 
forget  that  Washington  ever  wore  a  coat,  and  will  turn  away 
from  this  noble  colossal  form  in  a  mood  that  will  be  whole- 
some to  his  mental  state. 

This  attempt  to  justify  Greenough's  work  by  no  means 
implies  a  condemnation  of  other  conceptions  for  a  statue  of 

A    Visit    to    Greenougii's    Studio.    231 

Washington.  A  colossal  figure, — but  partially  draped, — 
seated,  the  posture  of  repose  and  authority, — Greenough's  con- 
ception, seems  to  me  the  most  elevated  and  appropriate. 
Artists  have  still  scope  for  a  figure,  entirely  draped  in  military 
or  civil  costume,  on  horseback  or  standing.  Only  this  repre- 
sentation of  Washington  will  not  be  so  high  and  complete  as 
the  other. 


On  the  reception  in  Home  of  the  intelligence  of  the  death  of 
Horatio  Greenough,  Esq.,  a  meeting  of  the  American  artists 
and  of  his  personal  friends,  was  held  on  Saturday,  January 
15th,  1853,  at  the  residence  of  our  eminent  sculptor,  Thomas 

The  American  artists,  without  exception,  were  present,  and 
the  distinguished  English  sculptor,  John  Gibson,  R.  A.,  also 
attended,  as  well  as  many  other  friends  of  the  deceased. 

The  meeting  was  called  to  order  by  the  Hon.  Lewis  Cass,  Jr., 
Charge  d'  Affaires  of  the  United  States,  at  Rome, — who,  after 
stating  its  object,  made  a  few  just  and  appropriate  remarks  on 
the  eminent  qualities  of  Mr.  Greenough.  Mr.  Crawford  having 
been  elected  President,  Mr.  Chapman  Vice-President,  and  Mr. 
Freeman,  Secretary ; 

On  taking  the  Chair,  Mr.  Crawford  addressed  the  meeting  as 
follows : — 

Gentlemen  :  I  shall  not  detain  you  longer  upon  this  melan- 
choly occasion,  than  is  requisite  to  place  before  you  the 
object  of  our  meeting,  and  to  pass  a  few  resolutions  in  connex- 
ion with  it.     You  are  all,  I  presume,  aware  of  the  recent  in- 

Meeting    of    Artists    at    Rome.        233 

telligence  we  have  received  in  Rome,  of  the  death  of  our  emi- 
nent sculptor,  Horatio  Greenough,  the  announcement  of  which 
has  been  so  unexpected,  and  so  mournful,  that  I,  who  knew  him 
well,  have  become,  if  I  may  use  the  words,  quite  overpowered. 

Never  in  the  course  of  my  life  have  I  been  influenced  by  a 
greater  desire  to  express  in  language  appropriate  to  this  solemn 
event,  my  own  feelings.  My  inability  to  do  this  at  present, 
gives  me  much  pain.  Therefore,  I  shall  only  say  that  by  the 
death  of  our  brother  artist,  we  have  lost  not  only  a  man  in  whom 
all  the  virtues  which  make  life  a  glorious  preparation  for  the 
future,  were  so  truly  evident ;  but  we  have  also  lost  a  friend  whose 
devotion  to  his  profession  united  with  respect  and  affection  for 
the  artists  of  all  countries,  were  combined  in  a  manner  so  strik- 
ing as  to  call  forth,  upon  many  occasions,  our  applause  and  our 
enduring  admiration. 

Gentlemen,  Horatio  Greenough  arrived  in  Rome  twenty-seven 
years  ago,  at  a  time  when,  with  us  at  home,  sculpture  may  be  said 
to  have  been  truly  in  its  infancy.  He  came  here  prompted  by 
a  most  enthusiastic  desire  to  become  an  artist.  He  brought 
with  him  rare  learning,  ardent  ambition,  and  a  determination 
to  succeed  in  a  profession  the  difficulties  of  which  are  almost 
insurmountable.  We  can  all  of  us  appreciate  his  attachment 
to  our  noble  art,  because  we  know  how  many  sacrifices  are  re- 
quired, how  many  home-ties  are  broken,  and  how  much  neglect 
often  falls  to  the  lot  of  those  who  are  determined  to  accomplish 
a  course  of  study,  so  far  removed  from  home.     More  I  need 


234         Meeting    of    Artists    at    Rome. 

not  say  regarding  this.  Your  sympathies  do  not  require  to  be 
roused  by  referring  to  the  incidents  of  artist-life.  Those  inci- 
dents most  frequently  come  and  go,  leaving  behind  them  more 
, shadow  than  sunshine.  It  is  sufficient  to  say  that  a  truer,  a 
more  noble,  or  a  more  affectionate  heart  never  existed,  than 
the  one  now  so  silent,  in  the  grave  of  Horatio  Greenough.  It 
is  a  sad  duty  for  us  to  be  here  this  night,  and  know,  Gentle- 
men, that  the  honor  he  attained  not  only  belongs  to  the 
history  of  our  country,  but  also  to  us ;  and  we  can  fully 
appreciate  the  importance  of  the  heritage,  and  are  determined  to 
cherish  it. 

It  is  for  this  purpose  you  have  been  called  together.  The 
willingness  you  have  shown  to  be  present  proves  that  your 
respect  for  the  deceased  is  of  the  most  earnest  character. 
Therefore,  in  conclusion,  allow  me  to  express  a  hope  that  by 
the  resolutions  we  shall  pass  this  evening,  we  may  perhaps 
cause  one  ray  of  light  to  fall,  with  its  mild  and  cheering  influ- 
ence, upon  the  mournful  affliction  of  the  widow  and  children  of 
our  lamented  brother  artist,  who  in  the  vigor  of  life,  with  a 
long  vista  of  years,  and  works,  and  honors  before  him,  has 
been  called  suddenly  away  to  that  far  off  land,  where  the 
aspirations  of  his  soul  will  find,  in  the  presence  of  its  God,  the 
full  and  beatific  realization  of  its  devotion  while  on  earth  to  the 
purity  of  goodness  and  the  beauty  of  art. 

Mr.  Wm.  W.  Story  then  addressed  the  meeting,  eloquently 
alluding  to  the  rank  Mr.  Greenough  held  among  living  artists, 

Meeting    of    Artists    at    Rome.        235 

and  to  his  noble  qualities  as  a  man.     Mr  Story  then  proposed  the 
following  resolutions,  which  were  unanimously  adopted  : 

Resolved,  That  we  have  heard  with  deep  regret  of  the  death 
of  our  fellow  countryman  and  brother  artist,  Horatio  Greenough, 

Resolved,  That  by  his  early  and  ardent  devotion  to  sculpture, 
at  a  period  when  this  department  of  art  was  scarcely  known  or 
practised  in  our  country,  he  is  fairly  entitled  to  be  considered 
as  the  Pioneer  of  American  Sculpture.  By  careful  culture,  he 
trained  and  developed  original  powers  of  a  high  order,  and 
attained  a  public  fame  of  which  we,  in  common  with  all 
Americans,  are  justly  proud.  His  works  are  marked  by  purity 
of  conception,  correctness  of  taste,  graceful  design,  and  rare 
delicacy  of  sentiment.  He  brought  to  his  profession  the 
accomplishments  of  scholarship,  and  he  pursued  it  with  liberal- 
ity of  spirit  and  elevation  of  purpose  ;  he  lived  and  shone  not 
merely  for  success,  but  to  elevate  Art,  and  no  personal  spirit  of 
rivalry  or  jealousy  dwarfed  the  loftiness  of  his  aim.  He  was 
eminently  a  gentleman  in  whom  refinement  of  feeling  ever 
prompted  courtesy  of  manner.  He  also  won  the  friendship  and 
regard  of  all  who  knew  him.  We  feel,  therefore,  that  in  him 
we  have  lost  not  only  an  able  and  educated  artist,  but  an  honor- 
able and  high-minded  man. 

Resolved,  That  in  manifestation  of  our  regard  for  the  memory 
of  the  deceased,  we  will  wear  crape  on  the  left  arm  for  the 
space  of  thirty  days. 

Resolved,    That  we  sincerely  sympathize  with  the  wife  and 

236        Meeting    of    Artists    at    Rome. 

family  of  the  deceased,  in  the  bereavement  which  they  have 
sustained  ;  and  that  a  copy  of  these  resolutions  be  forwarded  to 
them,  as  a  tribute  of  our  unfeigned  respect  for  his  genius, 
character,  and  works. 

The  meeting  then  adjourned. 




I  stood  alone ;  nor  word  nor  other  sound, 
Broke  the  mute  solitude  that  closed  me  round ; 
As  when  the  air  doth  take  her  midnight  sleep, 
Leaving  the  wintry  stars  her  watch  to  keep, 
So  slept  she  now  at  noon.     But  not  alone 
My  spirit  then  :  a  light  within  me  shone 

That  was  not  mine  ;  and  feelings  undefined, 
And  thoughts  flowed  in  upon  me  not  my  own. 
'Twas  that  deep  mystery — for  aye  unknown — 

The  living  presence  of  another's  mind. 

Another  mind  was  there — the  gift  of  few — 
That  by  its  own  strong  will  can  all  that's  true 
In  its  own  nature  unto  others  give, 
And  mingling  life  with  life,  seem  there  to  live. 
I  felt  it  now  in  mine  ;  and  oh  !  how  fair, 
How  beautiful  the  thoughts  that  met  me  there- 
Visions  of  Love,  and  Purity,  and  Truth ! 
Though  form  distinct  had  each,  they  seemed,  as  'twere, 
Embodied  all  of  one  celestial  air- 
To  beam  for  ever  in  coequal  youth. 

238  The    Group    of    the 

And  thus  I  learned — as  in  the  mind  they  moved — 
These  stranger  Thoughts  the  one  the  other  loved ; 
That  Purity  loved  Truth,  because  'twas  true, 
And  Truth,  because  'twas  pure,  the  first  did  woo  ; 
While  Love,  as  pure  and  true,  did  love  the  twain ; 
Then  Love  was  loved  of  them,  for  that  sweet  chain 

That  bound  them  all.     Thus  sure,  as  passionless, 
Their  love  did  grow,  till  one  harmonious  strain 
Of  melting  sounds  they  seemed ;  then,  changed  again, 

One  angel  form  they  took — Self-Happiness. 

This  angel  form  the  gifted  Artist  saw, 
That  held  me  in  his  spell.     'Twas  his  to  draw 
The  veil  of  sense,  and  see  the  immortal  race, 
The  Forms  spiritual,  that  know  not  place. 
He  saw  it  in  the  quarry,  deep  in  earth, 
And  stayed  it  by  his  will,  and  gave  it  birth 

E'en  to  the  world  of  sense  ;  bidding  its  cell, 
The  cold,  hard  marble,  thus  in  plastic  girth 
The  shape  ethereal  fix,  and  body  forth 

A  being  of  the  skies — with  man  to  dwell. 

And  then  another  form  beside  it  stood  ; 

'Twas  one  of  this  our  earth — though  the  warm  blood 

Had  from  it  passed  exhaled  as  in  a  breath, 

Drawn  from  its  lips  by  the  cold  kiss  of  Death. 

Its  little  "  dream  of  human  life  "  had  fled  ; 

And  yet  it  seemed  not  numbered  with  the  dead, 

But  one  emerging  to  a  life  so  bright 
That,  as  the  wondrous  nature  o'er  it  spread, 
Its  very  consciousness  did  seem  to  shed 

Rays  from  within,  and  clothe  it  all  in  light. 

Angel    and    Child.  239 

Now  touched  the  Angel  Form  its  little  hand, 

Turning  upon  it  with  a  look  so  bland, 

And  yet  so  full  of  majesty,  as  less 

Than  holy  nature  never  may  impress — 

And  more  than  proudest  guilt  unmoved  may  brook. 

The  Creature  of  the  Earth  now  felt  that  look, 

And  stood  in  blissful  awe — as  one  above 
Who  saw  his  name  in  the  Eternal  Book, 
And  Him  that  opened  it ;  e'en  Him  that  took 

The  Little  Child,  and  blessed  it  in  his  love. 


My  little  ones,  welcome  !  in  memory's  dream 

I've  fondly  beheld  you  full  long,] 
Your  bright  snowy  forms  as  dear  messengers  seem, 

From  the  radiant  land  of  song. 

How  could  you  depart  from  that  balmy  clime, 

Where  your  glorious  kindred  are  1 
The  sculptured  children  of  olden  time, 

Your  elder  brothers  are  there  ! 

Sweet  Babe  !  wouldst  thou  speak  of  that  gem  of  earth, 

With  your  gaze  of  wondering  fear  ? 
And  you,  fair  cherub,  of  him  who  gave  birth 

To  your  smile  of  holy  cheer  ? 

Oh,  we  feel  how  eloquent  silence  may  be, 
When  before  us — all  breathing  of  love — 

Is  the  embodied  spirit  of  infancy, 
And  its  angel  guide  above  ! 



Whence  come  ye,  Cherubs  1  from  the  moon  1 

Or  from  a  shining  star  1 
Ye,  sure,  are  sent  a  blessed  boon, 

From  kinder  worlds  afar ; 
For  while  I  look,  my  heart  is  all  delight : 
Earth  has  no  creatures  half  so  pure  and  bright. 

From  moon  nor  star  we  hither  flew ; 

The  moon  doth  wane  away, — 
The  stars,  they  pale  at  morning  dew  ; 

We're  children  of  the  day ; 
Nor  change,  nor  night,  was  ever  ours  to  bear ; 
Eternal  light,  and  love,  and  joy  we  share. 

Then  sons  of  light,  from  Heaven  above, 

Some  blessed  news  ye  bring. 
Come  ye  to  chant  eternal  love, 

And  tell  how  angels  sing, 
And  in  your  breathing,  conscious  forms  to  show, 
How  purer  forms  above  live,  breathe,  and  glow  ? 

Our  parent  is  a  human  mind ; 

His  winged  thoughts  are  we  ; 
To  sun  nor  stars  are  we  confined : 

We  pierce  the  deepest  sea. 
Moved  by  a  brother's  call,  our  Father  bade 
Us  light  on  earth  :  and  here  our  flight  is  stayed, 



Medora,  wake ! — nay  do  not  wake  ! 
I  would  not  stir  that  placid  brow, 
Nor  lift  those  lids,  though  light  should  break 
Warm  from  the  twin  blue  heavens  that  lie  below. 

Sleep  falls  on  thee,  as  on  the  streams 
The  summer  moon.     Touched  by  its  might, 
The  soul  comes  out  in  loving  dreams, 
And  wraps  thy  delicate  form  in  living  light. 

Thou  art  not  dead ! — These  flowers  say 
That  thou,  though  more  thou  heed'st  them  not, 
Didst  rear  them  once  for  him  away, 
Then  loose  them  in  thy  hold  like  things  forgot, 

And  lay  thee  here  where  thou  might'st  weep, — 
That  Death  but  hushed  thee  to  repose, 
As  mothers  tend  their  infants'  sleep, 
And  watch  their  eyelids  falter,  open,  close, — ■ 

That  here  thy  heart  hath  found  release, 
Thy  sorrows  all  are  gone  away, 
Or  touched  by  something  almost  peace, 
Like  night's  last  shadows  by  the  gleaming  day. 

When  he  who  gave  thee  form  is  gone, 
And  I  within  the  earth  shall  lie, 
Thorn  still  shalt  slumber  softly  on, 
Too  fair  to  live,  too  beautiful  to  die. 


BY   H.    T.     TUCKERMAN. 

The  quarry  whence  thy  form  majestic  sprung, 

Has  peopled  earth  with  grace, 
Heroes  and  Gods  that  elder  bards  have  sung — 

A  bright  and  peerless  race ; 

But  from  its  sleeping  veins  ne'er  rose  before 

A  shape  of  loftier  name 
Than  his  who  Glory's  wreath  with  meekness  wore,- 

The  noblest  son  of  Fame  ! 

Sheathed  is  the  sword  that  passion  never  stained : 

His  gaze  around  is  cast, 
As  if  the  joys  of  Freedom,  newly-gained, 

Before  his  vision  passed ;  — 

As  if  a  nation's  shout  of  love  and  pride 

With  music  filled  the  air, 
And  his  calm  soul  was  lifted  on  the  tide 

Of  deep  and  grateful  prayer  ; — 

As  if  the  crystal  mirror  of  his  life 

To  fancy  sweetly  came, 
With  scenes  of  patient  toil  and  noble  strife, 

Undimmed  bv  doubt  or  shame  ; — 

The    Statue    of    Washington.         243 

As  if  the  lofty  purpose  of  his  soul 

Expression  would  betray — 
The  high  resolve  ambition  to  control, 

And  thrust  her  crown  away ! 

Oh,  it  was  well  in  marble  firm  and  white, 

To  carve  our  hero's  form, 
Whose  angel  guidance  was  our  strength  in  fight, 

Our  star  amid  the  storm  ! 

Whose  matchless  truth  has  made  his  name  divine, 

And  human  freedom  sure, — 
His  country  great,  his  tomb  earth's  dearest  shrine, 

While  man  and  time  endure  ! 

And  it  is  well  to  place  his  image  there 

Upon  the  soil  he  blest ; 
Let  meaner  spirits  who  its  counsels  share, 

Revere  that  silent  guest ! 

Let  us  go  up  with  high  and  sacred  love 

To  look  on  his  pure  brow ; 
And,  as  with  solemn  grace,  he  points  above, 

Renew  the  patriot's  vow  ! 




The  generous  hopes  of  youth 
Are  firstlings  of  our  procreant  being ; 
Born  while  the  heart  is  newly  seeing 

Great  visions  of  the  truth. 

Life's  morning  glows  with  fires, 
Reddening  the  soul  with  lusty  flashes, 
That,  ere  its  noon,  are  silent  ashes 

Of  dead  dreams  and  desires. 

He  is  the  highest  man, 
Whose  dreams  die  not ; — in  whom  the  ideal, 
Surging  for  ever,  makes  life  real, 

Ending  where  it  began, 

In  visionary  deeds  ; — 
By  plastic  will  deserted  never, 
His  life-long  joy  and  sweet  endeavor 

To  prosper  Beauty's  seeds. 

'Tis  he  helps  Nature's  might, 
Echoing  her  soul,  whether  it  crieth, 
Or  silent  speaks  ;  and  when  he  dieth, 

On  Earth  there  is  less  light. 

Monody.  245 

Then  mourn,  my  country !     Shed 
Deep  tears  from  thy  great  lids,  and  borrow 
Night's  gorgeous  gloom  to  deck  thy  sorrow ; 

Greenough,  thy  son,  is  dead. 

A  crowned  son  of  Art 
And  thee ;  lifted  by  love  and  duty 
To  his  high  work  of  marble  beauty, 

Coining  thereon  his  heart. 

Quick  is  grief's  shadow  sped 
Across  the  seas  to  Tuscan  mountains, 
Darkening  the  depths  of  living  fountains 

By  Art  and  Friendship  fed. 

That  peopled  solitude, 
The  Studio,  where,  amid  his  creatures, 
Broodeth  the  God,  his  busy  features 

Irradiant  with  his  mood, 

Is  orphaned  now ;  and  pale, 
Each  sculptured  child  seems  sadly  listening 
For  the  warm  look,  that  came  in  glistening 

With  a  fresh  morning  hail. 

These  are  his  inmost  heirs ; 
In  them  still  pulse  his  heart's  best  beatings, 
Of  soul  and  thought  deep  nuptial  greetings  : 

What  most  was  his,  is  theirs. 

And  they  are  ours.     Our  sight 
Grows  strong,  as,  compassing  this  gifted 
Enmarbled  life,  we  are  uplifted : — 

On  Earth  there  is  more  light. 



'2-9  1938